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Judge denies Samsung request for new trial over juror misconduct accusation

A California judge has denied Samsung's request for a new patent trial against Apple over what Samsung said was juror misconduct.

Judge Lucy Koh was doubtful that jury foreman Velvin Hogan tried to get on the jury because of a long-held grudge against Seagate, a company in which Samsung has a 9.6 per cent stake.

"It is not even clear that Mr. Hogan knew of any relationship between Seagate and Samsung," Judge Koh wrote in her decision. "Mr. Hogan left Seagate's employment in 1993, and his lawsuit against Seagate was nearly two decades ago."

In April 2011, Seagate purchased Samsung's hard disk drive-manufacturing division for $1.375 billion (£840 million), giving Samsung a 9.6 per cent stake and making it Seagate's single largest direct shareholder.

According to Samsung, Hogan "failed to answer truthfully" during jury selection. Hogan did not mention two lawsuits to which he had been a party, including one involving Seagate, which Samsung said "raises issues of bias." The Korean company asked for a new trial in the case that resulted in a $1.05 billion (£650 million) loss for Samsung, but Judge Koh did not see the need.

In her decision, Koh quoted from the jury selection transcript, in which Hogan acknowledged that he worked for Seagate at one time. "Samsung's counsel expressed no concerns" about that fact, Koh said.

Samsung said it did not discover the lawsuit with Seagate until after the verdict, but Judge Koh basically accused Samsung of not doing enough research.

"Prior to the verdict, Samsung could have discovered Mr. Hogan's litigation with Seagate, had Samsung acted with reasonable diligence based on information Samsung acquired through voir dire, namely that Mr. Hogan stated during voir dire that he had worked for Seagate," Judge Koh said this week.

Hogan repeatedly told the court he could be impartial during the trial. But "because the Court finds that Samsung waived its right to object to Mr. Hogan's answer even if it was dishonest, no evidentiary hearing or factual finding regarding Mr. Hogan's state of mind during that portion of voir dire is required."

A Samsung spokesman declined to comment on the judge's decision. Apple has said it was not aware of any juror misconduct in the case.

Also this week, meanwhile, Judge Koh declined Apple's request to ban 26 Samsung products from the US market. Samsung also decided to drop its injunction requests against Apple in Europe, but not the cases overall.