The Problem of Mop Heads in the Era of Apps: Toward More Rigorous Standards of Value Apportionment in Contemporary Patent Law
Vol. 98, Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society 182
42 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2017 Last revised: 21 Jun 2017
Date Written: August 10, 2016
In 1884, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a damage claim on a patented mop head improvement for failure to apportion profits attributable to the patented feature against the entire mop. 130 years later, jurists deal with the same core challenge of damage apportionment except with much more complicated products. Given the fact that as many as 250,000 patents impact the average consumer smart phone, can anyone say confidently that any single one of these patents drives consumer demand for the whole product or even for any particular feature of the product? And if not, how much worth does any one patent have in relation to the value of the entire product? For example, what portion of the sales price of an iPhone is attributable to a particular individual feature of that phone, such as the ability to use FaceTime?
Keywords: Intellectual property, patent, apportion profits, damage apportionment, product value
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation