Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple v. Samsung: When will the jury deliver a verdict?

August 23, 2012: 1:37 PM ET

Legal experts speculate about what's going on right now in that jury room

llustration: Vicki Behringer

UPDATE: The jury needed only three days to give Apple most of what it asked for. See here.

FORTUNE -- I've served my share of jury duty on cases ranging from personal injury to homicide, but I've never sat on a case as long or complicated as Apple's (AAPL) multi-billion dollar patent infringement suit against Samsung.

So I asked several expert jury watchers to speculate about what the seven men and two women in the jury room are doing right now, and when we might expect them to deliver a verdict.

"In our experience studying jury deliberations, we commonly see that the jurors will feel two things at this point," says Roy Futterman, a clinical psychologist and jury consultant at DOAR Litigation Consulting. "First, the jurors will feel somewhat overwhelmed with their task. Second, the jurors will be eager and relieved to finally have a chance to talk to each other about their shared experience."

At this stage, Futterman says, the jury will be talking in broad terms. "They will bond as a group and begin forming sub-groups before moving onto the more difficult stage of making decisions."

In each of the juries I served on, there was one hold-out who waited until late Friday afternoon to join the consensus. Bill Panagos, an intellectual property specialist at Butzel Long's Detroit office, thinks the jury dynamics in this case won't be that simple.

"With the complexity of the issues presented," he says, "there will probably not be a single hold out, but rather a number of jurors who must have the time to consider for themselves the facts and evidence, and apply the jury instructions to their deliberations so that they can reach a verdict."

The jurors have probably already selected a foreperson, says Christopher Carani, a design law expert at Chicago-based McAndrews, Held & Malloy, but they still have a long way to go. "While the weekend is fast approaching and jurors are likely exhausted, I'd be very surprised if we received a jury verdict tomorrow. The task at hand is a massive one -- there are 773 discreet questions, each requiring consideration of several pieces of information, including patents, accused products, prior art, etc.  Just to locate the proper information will take a yeoman's effort."

DOAR Litigation's Futterman agrees. "The jury knows that this is a high-profile case and that there is a lot of attention being paid to their actions. In our experience with high-profile cases, we know that the jury will likely want to show the world that they spent a lot of time thoughtfully considering the issues before giving their verdict."

Bottom line: You can probably expect deliberations to continue into next week. If there are still holdouts a week from Friday, however, the prospect of a spending one more weekend with Apple v. Samsung hanging over their heads could bring the jury to a rapid consensus.

Join the Conversation
About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

Email | @philiped | RSS
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.