Patent News | "Patent Trial Turns to Damages"

Category: Patent News

SAN JOSE, Calif.—A closely watched patent battle between Apple Inc. AAPL +0.87% and Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE 0.00% turned to the money at stake, as the trial here entered its final days.

A lawyer for Samsung began the morning providing testimony and evidence designed to reduce the potential bill the company would face if the jury rules Samsung devices violated Apple patents.

Apple contends it is owed more than $2.5 billion in damages based on a host of Samsung devices infringing several of its patents. The amount could be adjusted if the jury finds that only some devices infringed some patents.

A damages expert for Samsung, Michael Wagner, argued that Apple's estimates—made by accountant Terry Musika, who testified earlier on Apple's behalf—were based on faulty Samsung profit estimates that ignored important costs. Those costs include the cost of marketing the phones, promoting them to carriers and research and development.

Mr. Wagner estimated that Samsung made $519 million in profits from the disputed phones since Apple filed its suit against Samsung in 2011. He also sought to prove that Apple "overstated" the profits it would have earned if the Samsung phones weren't available.

He cited research that suggested that customers wouldn't flock to Apple if the Samsung phones didn't exist. "The specific design at issue in this case isn't driving customers from Samsung to Apple," Mr. Wagner said.

Mr. Wagner also cited Apple's own supply constraints as a reason that the company couldn't have sold more iPhones or iPads even if the competing Samsung devices weren't on the market. He also disputed the prices Mr. Musika used to calculate damages, among other things.

On cross-examination, an Apple lawyer grilled Mr. Wagner on the difficulty of getting data from Samsung, which Mr. Wagner acknowledged, and the particulars of his math.

The accounting back and forth came as testimony in the patent trial is winding down, with closing arguments likely Tuesday.

In her continuing effort to expedite, Judge Lucy Koh began the day by asking both sides to try to narrow their case, yet again. "Now is the time," she said, encouraging "some horse trading."