Thursday, March 13, 2014

Apple’s Five Software Patents

Florian Mueller:

A damages expert will argue on Apple’s behalf that, if the parties had acted reasonably and rationally in a hypothetical negotiation, Samsung would have agreed to pay $40—forty dollars!—per phone or tablet sold as a total royalty for the five patents-in-suit, which relate to (but don’t even fully monopolize) the phone number tapping feature, unified search, data synchronization, slide-to-unlock, and autocomplete. The theory is that Samsung would simply have raised its prices accordingly. (You can find the final list of Apple’s patents-in-suit here; that post also lists Samsung’s patents-in-suit, but three more patent claims have since been dropped).

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Apple’s royalty-type damages claim for five software patents is also far out of the ballpark of anything that has ever been claimed or rumored to be paid in this industry for entire portfolios. After Apple and Nokia settled in 2011, the highest per-unit royalty estimate I heard about (and this was just an analyst’s claim, not official information) was in the $10 range—for Nokia’s huge portfolio of SEPs and non-SEPs, not for a handful of patents. Guesstimates of what various Android device makers pay to Microsoft—again, for a portfolio license, not a five-patent license—that have appeared in the media did not exceed $15–20 per unit, at least the ones I’m aware of. (And Microsoft has a stronger software patent portfolio than Apple.)

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