Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Manufactured Outrage of the Day

Pamela Jones of Groklaw has become comically outraged over the jury’s decision in Apple v. Samsung:

In two instances, results were crazily contradictory, and the judge had to have the jury go back and fix the goofs. As a result the damages award was reduced to $1,049,343,540, down from $1,051,855,000. For just one example, the jury had said one device didn’t infringe, but then they awarded Apple $2 million for inducement. In another they awarded a couple of hundred thousand for a device they’d ruled didn’t infringe at all.

She begins that paragraph by admitting that the jury made a couple of small mistakes, and that the damages were corrected to fix this. But that’s not going to stop the outrage machine (all quotes [sic]):

For example, if the jury rushed so much it assigned $2 million dollars to Apple, and then had to subtract it because there was no infringement, it raises a valid question: what was the basis for any of the damages figures the jury came up with? If they had any actual basis, how could they goof like this? Was there a factual basis for any of the damages figures? […]

There were 700 questions, remember, and one thing is plain, that the jury didn’t take the time to avoid inconsistencies, one of which resulted in the jury casually throwing numbers around, like $2 million dollars for a nonfringement.

Come on. This is farce.

It’s almost as if 700 questions might lend itself to the possibility of inconsistencies. If that’s the case, Samsung should have raised that as a possibility.

Oh wait, they did (PDF):

The verdict form in this complex case necessarily spans 20 pages and requires unanimous answers to more than 500 discrete questions across 5 different legal disciplines. The likelihood of an inconsistent verdict is a possibility despite the jury’s best efforts.

So why didn’t Pamela Jones note this in her article? Well, she did, in the first paragraph:

Late in the process yesterday at the Apple v. Samsung trial, when the parties and the judge were reviewing the jury verdict form, Samsung noticed that there were, indeed, inconsistencies in the jury’s verdict form, a possibility Samsung anticipated.

This is what happens when an unstoppable outrage machine meets a verdict it disagrees with. In this case, Pamela Jones wants readers to be mad at a jury that did its job.