Apple Finds an $85 Million Payday in an Unexpected Place
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) could be on the cusp of an $85 million payday after uncovering a potential error in its ongoing patent trial against Samsung.
According to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, Judge Lucy Koh "thought the jury had granted, on the basis of an impermissible legal theory presented by Apple at its own peril, $40,494,356 for the Galaxy S II AT&T (NYSE: T) and $44,792,974 for the Infuse 4G."
"But Apple points out that Samsung's own admissions concerning the dates of first sale of these products as well as certain exhibits consistent with those admissions prove that the relevant theory -- disgorgement of profits for design patent infringement -- was permissible," Mueller wrote.
"Therefore, the number of products for which the damages award can stand would go up from 14 to 16, while the number of products for which a new determination is needed would go down from 14 to 12. The affirmed damages award would increase from $600 million to $685 million, almost two thirds of the $1.05 billion verdict."
This is only the latest twist in the case, which has sparked more controversies than Seth MacFarlane at the Academy Awards. Their battle has been running strong for more than two years with no end in sight.
It was not always this way, however.
"Don't forget that, up until just before its [recent] suits that were filed, Apple was not known as a company that filed patent litigation," Cheryl Milone, a former patent attorney and founder and CEO of Article One Partners (a patent validation community), told Benzinga. "It came up very quickly. I know that, from the public's perspective (looking at the news today), it looks unusual -- but it's not. These types of patent wars have cycled through [other] industries, including the auto industry."
In fact, Milone said that there is one worldwide auto brand that conducts aggressive Freedom to Operate searches "to make sure that when they produce a product, they are doing their best to avoid infringement."
Milone would not indentify that automaker by name, but investors may wonder if Ford (NYSE: F) -- which heavily invests in technology R&D and commands a $1.5 billion licensing business -- is the company in question.
Regardless, automakers have generally moved away from patent litigation. The same cannot be said for the tech industry. Milone thinks that will change in the future, but it could take some time.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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