If you thought you’d heard the last of Apple and Samsung’s battles over patents, you were wrong.
Apple wants its chief rival, Samsung, to pay royalties of $US40 per device for the right to use interface elements described in just five of its patents, according to intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller.
What would that $US40 per phone buy Samsung?
The patents in Apple’s upcoming court battle involve the ability to simply tap a phone number to make a call, unified search for your device and the Web, data syncing, slide-to-unlock and autocomplete.
Mueller doesn’t mince his words — he thinks that the number Apple is asking for is excessive:
$40 per unit. For five software patents. Give me a break. Reality distortion would be a total understatement for this.
Paying royalties, even on a per-device basis, isn’t uncommon in today’s tech landscape. Microsoft draws in millions of dollars in royalties each year from 21 Android device manufacturers for its portfolio, though it charges in the range of $US15 to $US20 per device.
And Apple isn’t the only one hoping to get money out of the latest case: Samsung is hoping to charge Apple a royalty of 2.4% of all iPhone sales for the use of patents that are considered essential for certain wireless standards.
Given an average selling price of $US620 per iPhone — somewhere in the middle of the recent highs and lows reported by Apple over recent months — that puts the fee Samsung wants from Apple at just shy of $US15 per device.
That’s an awful lot closer to the going rate in the industry, and even then, Mueller suggests that it’s still a high number for “standards-essential” patents. But Apple wants nearly three times that for far fewer patents that have much less to do with the fundamental ability to use a device.
As Mueller puts it, Apple’s case for why it should get so much for so little is “an objective insanity, and I say so even though Judge Koh allowed Apple to present it to the jury.”
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