Samsung Disputes Apple's Damages as Patent Trial Winds Down

As Samsung wrapped up its defense in the patent infringement suit brought against it by Apple, Samsung witnesses disputed the damages Apple claims it suffered as from the alleged copying of Apple's mobile device designs.

Witnesses in the patent infringement trial of Apple versus Samsung challenged Apple's estimates of damages caused by Samsung's allegedly copying Apple's designs for the iPhone and iPad, while providing their estimates of damages suffered by Samsung because of Apple's alleged infringement.

The conflicting dollar amounts dominated testimony Aug. 16 in the case winding up in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. After Samsung finished presenting its defense Apple attorneys began presenting rebuttal witnesses. The case may go to the jury by Aug. 22.

Apple is seeking between $2.5 billion and $2.7 billion in damages on its claims that Samsung copied patented Apple designs in order to make its own smartphones and tablet computers. Michael Wagner, an expert in calculating patent infringement damages who was called to the witness stand by Samsung, told the jury that the real damages Apple would deserve, if the jury decides in its favor, would only be 20 percent to 25 percent of Apple's claim, or $500 million to $675 million.

Wagner said Apple's estimates were based on its assumption that if Samsung's infringing devices were taken off the market that Samsung would disappear from the market, but more likely, Samsung would design around the Apple patents and continue to compete. And if specific Apple-patented features on Samsung products were banned, Samsung could still sell a competitive product.

"There isn't one feature that drives demand," Wagner said, according to coverage of the testimony live-blogged from the trial on the San Jose Mercury News Web site. "It's a multi-functional device, that's what they're buying, not just a design."

Conversely, another Samsung witness, David Teece, testified that if Apple were found to be liable for infringing certain Samsung patents, as has also been alleged, Samsung could claim damages of $290 million to $399 million.

After Samsung wrapped up its defense, Apple began presenting rebuttal witnesses, including Tony Blevins, an Apple designer who is now the vice president of procurement for the company. He disputed one of Samsung's counter-claims that Apple infringed on a Samsung design for a cell data processor, which helps the phones complete calls. Blevins pointed out that the processor is from Intel, not Samsung, which should absolve Apple of any infringement charges.

Another Apple witness, former Apple software engineer Emilie Kim, testified that a feature in the iPhone for e-mailing photos does not infringe on a Samsung patent for a similar feature on its phones, as Samsung alleges.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the trial, has frequently criticized attorneys over witness lists and her wish to keep the proceedings on schedule. Viewing a long list of potential witnesses from each side in the case, Koh exclaimed, "Unless you're smoking crack, you know these witnesses aren't going to be called."

During the trial on Aug. 15, she publicly urged both sides to negotiate a settlement before the case goes to the jury because evidence has been presented so far that each company may have violated patents of the other.