Lucy Koh

Apple wants Samsung to pay $40 per phone for five patents

March 11, 2014: 8:58 AM ET

"I don't merely disagree with Apple but am rather wondering whether it has lost its mind."

Florian Mueller

Florian Mueller

FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) for several years has had a loyal supporter in Florian Mueller. 

Nobody followed the company's myriad patent disputes more closely. Or criticized more sharply the claims made against Apple by Samsung and Motorola/Google for their so-called standard-essential patents.

But this time, he writes in his FOSS Patents blog, Apple has gone too far.

Having read the transcript of a January federal court hearing in advance of the second Apple v. Samsung trial -- scheduled to begin Mar. 31 -- Mueller is practically apoplectic. He can't believe 1) what Apple is demanding and 2) that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh is going to let the company put those demands before a jury.

"I face the first situation," he wrote in Tuesday's post, "in which I don't merely disagree with Apple but am rather wondering whether it has lost its mind."

The issue is what Apple thinks Samsung might reasonably agree to pay -- after hypothetical negotiations -- for the right to use five Apple patents: phone number tapping, unified search, data synchronization, slide-to-unlock, and autocomplete. (More detail here.)

$40 per unit? For five software patents?

"Give me a break," writes Mueller. "Reality distortion would be a total understatement for this."

In the first California Apple v. Samsung trial -- the one that ended in a $929 million verdict against Samsung -- Apple's per-device ask was a fraction of what it's demanding now. The per-unit claim for "pinch to zoom" was $3.10. For "over scroll bounce" and "tap to zoom" it was $2.02 apiece. That's a total to $7.14 for three patents. Now Apple is demanding $40 for five.

"I can understand that Apple, almost three years after having filed its first lawsuit against Samsung, is disappointed with the fact that it has no enforceable remedies in place in the United States," Mueller writes. "But seeking out-of-this-world damages based on bizarre theories of what a hypothetical negotiation would result in is not the answer."

LINK: At upcoming trial, Apple wants Samsung to pay $40 per device for only five software patents

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