In Immersion Corporation v. HTC Corporation, et al., C.A. No. 12-259-RGA (D. Del. Feb. 24, 2015), Judge Richard G. Andrews granted-in-part defendants’ Daubert motion to exclude plaintiff’s damages expert, excluding the testimony regarding lost profits but allowing testimony regarding a reasonable royalty.
As to reasonable royalty, the expert chiefly relied on a prior settlement agreement between plaintiff and another party that covered the same patents-in-suit for accused devices with the same operating system; the settling party and current defendants also had “comparable market shares.” Id. at 4. Defendants argued that the expert’s calculation was flawed as it rested “on the premise that the patents-in-suit are the most valuable in the [settlement] portfolio,” and also that the expert had “cherry-picked” this particular license agreement as having the highest royalty rate among several other licenses. Id. at 4. But the Court concluded that reliance on this particularl agreement was reasonable, and Defendants’ criticisms went to weight rather than admissibility. Id. at 5-6.
As to lost profits, Defendants moved to exclude, as speculative and failing to show demand for the patented product, this expert’s theory that was “based on a license agreement that the parties negotiated for several years, but ultimately did not enter into. The agreement would have licensed the patents-in-suit, as well as [software of Plaintiff not covered by the patents] . . . [the expert] reasoned that ‘but for’ Defendants’ infringement, Defendants would have entered into the agreement they had been negotiating. He therefore calculated lost profits by applying that rate to [Defendants’] sales.” Id. at 6 (citations omitted). The Court concluded that this theory was “based on a faulty legal premise” and thus excluded it. The expert had not attempted to show any functional relationship between the patented products and this software, such that Plaintiff would be entitled to recover from lost sales of unpatented components sold with a patented product. Id. at 8-9.
Furthermore, the lost profits testimony was “inconsistent with the premise of the lost profits analysis.” Id. at 9. While the traditional lost profits framework is “based on an analysis where the hypothetical world is one in which the infringing sales did not occur” and, “[s]ince the sales did not occur, the infringement had been ‘factored out,'” the expert’s theory assumed Defendants had licensed the patents. Plaintiff’s counsel admitted that there was no case accepting this theory, although the Court observed there was also no case rejecting it either. Id. at 9 & n.7. The Court ultimately concluded that this theory “[went] too far,” as it would allow a patentee to seek damages representing “the right to exploit,” rather than simply the recognized “right to exclude.” Id. at 9-10 (citing hypothetical where whatever profits Defendants would have made from the licensed software, as well as the profits of other parties licensing the patents in light of Defendants’ own use of them, would be recoverable).