A Patent Juror Speaks | Patents Post Grant Blog.
When interviewed by Bloomberg (link here), the foreman explained (around the three minute mark) that his “aha moment” in assessing the alleged obviousness of Apple patents was when he realized that the Apple software would not work on the processor of the prior art. This is an odd statement considering that the test for obviousness is not whether features may be bodily incorporated into a prior art structure, but rather, what the combined teachings of those references would have suggested to one of ordinary skill in the art
It could be that the Foreman was simply being inarticulate in his explanation. However, it seems far more likely that the jury was confused as to a proper obviousness analysis; this is not at all surprising. The Foreman and his colleagues were tasked with an impossibly complex mission: to navigate over a very short period of time, unfamiliar and arcane legal concepts mashed together with complex questions of technology. For this reason, jury verdicts and their corresponding damage awards can be quite the “crap shoot.”
After September 16th, defendants will have a choice to continue on to roll the dice at the district court with a jury trial of laypeople, or avail themselves of the new USPTO patentability trials of the AIA. The new trial proceedings of the AIA will be completed within 12-18 months of initiation and will be conducted before the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB).
Unlike jurors, the decision makers of the PTAB are not laypeople. Rather, PTAB judges are experienced in the application of U.S. patent law and must additionally have an engineering and/or science background. In addition to the established expertise in technology and patent law, unlike the courts, PTAB judges do not accord patents a presumption of validity, nor do they require clear and convincing evidence to invalidate a patent. Indeed, patent claims are accorded a broadest reasonable interpretation at the USPTO, which makes them that much easier to invalidate.