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Federal Circuit Review No. 69-2
Court Affirms $15 Million Damages Award Against Samsung
Summit 6, LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., No. 2013-1648, -1651, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16711 (Fed. Cir. Sep. 21, 2015) (Before Prost, C.J., Reyna and Hughes, J.) (Opinion for the court, Reyna, J.). Click Here for a copy of the opinion.
Summit 6 LLC (“Summit”) sued Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC (collectively “Samsung”) and others alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,765,482 (“the ’482 patent”), which relates to the processing of digital photos and other digital content before being transmitted over a network by client devices (e.g., cell phones).
The jury found the asserted claims of the ’482 patent are not invalid and were infringed, and Summit was awarded a lump sum of $15 million in damages. The parties filed post-trial motions. The district court granted Samsung’s motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) of no direct infringement and denied all other pre-verdict and post-verdict motions, except for Samsung’s motion to reduce prejudgment interest. This left the jury verdict of indirect infringement in place. Both parties appealed.
The Federal Circuit affirmed. First, the district court did not err in declining to construe the claim term “being provided to,” as Samsung argued, because the term comprises commonly used terms that have a plain and ordinary meaning. Second, the district court did not err in denying Samsung’s JMOL motion with respect to infringement, because there was a legally sufficient basis for a reasonable jury to find for Summit. Third, the jury’s verdict on validity was supported by evidence from Summit’s expert that at least one element of each asserted claim was missing from the prior art reference in question. Fourth, Samsung’s arguments that Summit’s expert was unqualified to rely on survey data compiled by third parties were unpersuasive. Fifth, Summit’s expert testimony and the license resulting in settlement for another defendant, RIM, supported the damages verdict. The RIM license was comparable because both RIM and Samsung sell camera phones having the accused MMS functionality. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Summit’s request for an ongoing royalty because the jury award compensated Summit for both past and future infringement through the life of the patent. Experts on both sides admitted that a lump sum would compensate Summit, and the Court found no basis to disturb the district court’s finding.