These patent wars are getting entirely out of hand as Apple is now going to ask a jury to award them a $40 licensing fee from Samsung for EACH smartphone and tablet that it sells. Apparently Apple has legalized marijuana for its lawyers to smoke and has not told anybody – there is simply no other explanation for this outlandish licensing fee because of only five patents that Apple claims Samsung has infringed on. This request makes Apple look like fools and even the Apple allies at FOSS Patents believe it to be ridiculous, stating that possibly $10 is the highest figure they have ever seen awarded. Apple says that the solution is simple – Samsung would simply tack on the $40 fee to the selling price of its devices and pass it on to the consumer…as Apple passes that joint around the table.
FOSS Patents points out that this is not for an entire portfolio of patents, but only five patents related to: aspects of unified search, data synchronization, slide-to-unlock, autocomplete, and a feature that turns phone numbers into tappable links. Florian Mueller, an Apple ally, writing in FOSS Patents states:
"$40 per unit. For five software patents. Give me a break. Reality distortion would be a total understatement for this."
Mueller goes on to say that, Apple's latest 'damages theory' are also irreconcilable with Apple's previous numbers and cites the following instances:
"At a meeting between Apple and Samsung in 2010 (the year before this litigation started), Apple proposed a royalty of $30 per unit for an entire portfolio, not just a handful of patents (to be precise, the proposal also involved a rate of $40 per unit for tablet computers, but only for the first two years)." And secondly:
"In the first California litigation, Apple's reasonable royalty damages claim for its software patents was only a fraction of what it wants now…"
It is understandable that still, after three years of filing their lawsuit, Apple has nothing to show for it – there are no enforceable remedies on the books in the United States, but this ridiculous proposal will not help Apple's case. According to Mueller, Apple argues that their theory is supported by other real-world licensing deals, but then refuses to allow the jury to see them. Samsung's lawyers believe that if the jury knew what the actual royalty rates are in the industry that the jury would never award this kind of money. Hopefully, reason will settle in and a realistic compromise can be reached so that both Apple and Samsung can put these patent wars behind them and move on.