John Quinn, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
John Quinn, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)

SAN JOSE — Samsung may be facing the threat of a $2.2 billion bill, but the South Korean company is reaching for its coin purse.

Judith Chevalier, one of Samsung’s damages experts, told jurors on Monday the company should pay only $1.75 per device if found to infringe Apple’s patents. At that rate, Samsung Electronics Co. would owe just $38.4 million in total damages, an amount that stands in stark contrast to Apple Inc.’s request for more than $2 billion.

The tech titans are entering the home stretch of their third jury trial over smartphone and tablet technology before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose. Samsung’s legal team has made a concerted point of downplaying the value of patents that represent narrow features of complex consumer devices.

Under questioning from Samsung lawyer John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Chevalier said she had been generous to Apple in her calculations. To arrive at the royalty, the Yale University economics professor said she evaluated how much users paid for apps with similar software and considered consumer reviews that mentioned the patented features. The figure she selected was at the upper limit of what her data supported, Chevalier noted, acknowledging the parties would have to move beyond bad blood in order to sit down and hash out licenses.

“We know that Apple and Samsung are fierce competitors in this market, and we need to take that into account in setting this royalty,” she said.

Chevalier joined the chorus of Samsung experts who have criticized an Apple survey conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor John Hauser, which found Samsung users would be willing to pay considerably more for devices with the patented features. Chevalier testified that $1.6 billion of Apple’s nearly $2.2 billion damages request was pinned on the study.

Apple lawyer William Lee fired back in cross-examination.

“What Samsung has done is hire people to do Monday-morning quarterbacking of Dr. Hauser’s survey,” the Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner said.

As part of her work, Chevalier used product reviews from consumers and the press to gauge how much of a mark Apple’s patented features made with the public. She found that screen quality was mentioned in 11.6 percent of sentences in the professional reviews, compared with just 0.36 percent for “slide to unlock,” one of Apple’s patented features.

Lee scoffed at the methodology. He read aloud from a user review, which stated in part, “This phone betrayed me. When I was sleeping it slapped me and seerei [sic] said a bad werd.”

“That was counted as five sentences, correct,” Lee deadpanned.

But Chevalier ceded little ground when Lee pressed her for why Samsung had not designed around Apple’s patented features.

“One explanation is that they thought it was important to have that in the product,” he said.

“That’s one explanation, but I don’t even think that’s the leading one,” Chevalier said. “I think they don’t want their competitor to dictate their functionality.”

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