Samsung’s $16.8M Bill in Patent Fight Affirmed

     (CN) – After infringing on a Texas company’s patent for processing pictures to send via text message, Samsung owes a $16.8 million lump-sum royalty, the Federal Circuit ruled Monday.
     Summit 6 had sued the Korean tech giant in Fort Worth, Texas, for infringing its patent on software that automatically processes digital photos before they are transferred over a network by resizing the image, changing the quality setting of the image, and/or changing the aspect ratio.
     Though Summit had also sued Facebook and the BlackBerry-making Research In Motion, those companies reached settled the patent claims.
     After a six-day trial, a jury found that Samsung infringes on Summit’s patent with phones that support MMS photo messaging.
     On Monday, a three-judge panel in Washington affirmed that jury’s $15 million judgment, plus $1.8 in interest.
     “The jury heard evidence from Summit’s expert, Dr. Jones, that Samsung’s accused devices perform the methods of the asserted claims. Dr. Jones explained that the carriers dictate image height and width resolution parameters to maintain image quality in preparation for publication,” Judge Jimmie Reyna wrote for the court.
     Samsung’s expert also admitted that the phones’ source code has a configurable maximum file size dictated by the phone service carriers.
     “This evidence supports the jury’s verdict finding that Samsung’s accused devices perform the methods of the asserted claims,” the 28-page opinion states.
     Reyna also affirmed the lower court’s reliance on Summit’s damages expert’s methodology in calculating a reasonable royalty.
     Summit expert Paul Benoit found that 77 percent of Samsung phone users use the camera regularly, and 41 percent of these users shared the photos via MMS. Of these shared photos, 100 percent were resized.
     Multiplying these percentages, Benoit estimated that 20 percent of phone users used the camera in a manner that infringed on Summit’s patent.
     He then calculated Samsung’s camera-related revenue as $14.15 per phone, attributing 20 percent of this revenue to the infringing features, and labeling 56 cents of this revenue as profit.
     Benoit testified that a reasonable royalty would split this profit, giving Summit 28 cents per device for its intellectual property.
     Since Samsung has sold approximately 100 million phones, Benoit’s calculations would give Summit $29 million.
     The Federal Circuit found Benoit’s methodology “structurally sound,” even if it was not peer-reviewed.
     “Mr. Benoit’s damages methodology was based on reliable principles and was sufficiently tied to the facts of the case,” Reyna said. “We recognize that the fact-based nature of Mr. Benoit’s damages testimony made it impractical, if not impossible, to subject the methods to peer review and publication. But ‘[p]ublication … is not a sine qua non of admissibility.””

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