In opening statements in a California federal damages trial, an eight-member jury was told by Apple lawyers that Samsung owes it more than $1 billion. Apple claim Samsung infringed three design patents related to iphone - and also want an extra $5 million for infringing two utility patents, based on Samsung's total phone revenues minus costs. Samsung responded claims for the five alleged patent violations were 'a gross, gross exaggeration.'
Two expert witnesses, called by Apple, testified to the sums being reasonable. An MIT professor, John Hauser, conducted a form of trade-off analysis to determine the value of individual features to customers. In an earlier trial, Apple’s analysis concluded that customers might pay as much as $100 more for a Samsung phone that included the patented features. Economist Chris Vellturo offered an assessment of the reasonableness of royalty payments had Samsung chosen to license the patents from Apple, added to the lost profits had Samsung phones not offered the same features. Vellturo cited the fact once people enter a particular ecosystem they tend to stick with it for future purchases. 'It’s a particularly significant period for Samsung to have been infringing,' Vellturo said, given this is the point the customer enters such an ecosystem. He added: 'That had a dramatic effect on Apple, and the compensation is therefore substantial.'
The trial is the latest in a long and ongoing dispute which Samsung estimates is worth around $28 million. For its part, Samsung is seeking some $7 million in damages for the two patents it claims Apple infringed in order to send a message that software patents are worth significantly less than Apple is suggesting.