Apple to Samsung: Give Us $40 for Every Android Device You Sell

The patent licensing fees Apple wants from Samsung for every Android-based smartphone and tablet it sells is US$40. That works out to about $8 per patent, and makes for a figure that's substantially higher than the numbers Apple balked at when Samsung demanded 2.4 percent of every iPhone sold.

Apple thinks Samsung should pay $40 per device for mobile patent licensingApple thinks Samsung should pay $40 per device for mobile patent licensing

The figure Apple is asking was included in court transcripts related to the upcoming patent infringement trial the two companies will deal with at the end of March.

The trial will be the second for both in U.S. Federal Court. The original trial, which included devices that aren't part of the upcoming case, gave Apple a big win in 2012 when a Jury found that it wasn't infringing on Samsung's patents, while awarding the iPhone and iPad maker over $1 billion in damages for Samsung's infringement.

One big point of contention for Apple during the first trial was Samsung's demand for what it saw as a ridiculously high per-device licensing fee. Apple said at the time, "Samsung's royalty demands are multiple times more than Apple has paid any other patentees for licenses to their declared-essential patent portfolios."

What Apple is asking from Samsung is even higher, and Florian Mueller from FOSS Patents thinks that demand is way out of line. "Apple's damages theory for the trial that will begin in less than three weeks is an objective insanity, and I say so even though Judge Koh allowed Apple to present it to the jury," he said.

He added, "$40 per unit. For five software patents. Give me a break. Reality distortion would be a total understatement for this."

For comparison, if Apple did pay Samsung 2.4 percent per iPhone 5S, at unsubsidized prices, that would cost between $15.57 and $20.37, depending on capacity. At most, Apple would be paying about half what it's asking from Samsung.

The $40 figure came up during the pre-trial negotiations between Apple and Samsung where Judge Lucy Koh had hoped would lead to a settlement. Both sides walked away without reaching an agreement, which isn't surprising considering how much money Apple wanted in patent licensing fees.

Demanding such a high per-device fee may have been a tactic on Apple's part to help drive negotiations to a more agreeable number, or a move to create an irreconcilable point that would force the talks to fail. Alternately, Apple may have genuinely felt that's what it deserved to license the five patents in question for Samsung's use despite the fact that the value is far above the rates it pays to other companies for patent licensing fees.

Samsung agreed to drop its standard-essential patents from the case and in exchange Apple dropped its SEP and FRAND counter complaints. Agreeing to drop parts of their cases will help reduce the overall complexity during the trial, but leaves the door open for Samsung to start yet another complaint that includes the patents it cut from this case.