Expert Testimony Deemed Admissible Despite Reliance on Novel, Unpublished Methodology

Editor: Jeff T. Watson

In Summit 6, LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co., Nos. 13-1648, -1651 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 21, 2015), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Samsung’s JMOL motion to exclude testimony from Summit 6’s expert, Paul Benoit.  Benoit testified that Samsung would have agreed to pay $29 million to license a patent related to photo-sharing, while Samsung argued that the feature was not worth more than $1.5 million.

On appeal, Samsung argued that: (1) Benoit’s methodology was unpublished, created specifically for this litigation, and never before employed by Benoit or by another expert; (2) Benoit’s premise that a feature’s use is proportional to its value was incorrect; and (3) Benoit’s use of surveys was unreliable because he was not a survey expert.

While Daubert holds that a court may consider whether a methodology has been tested, published, or generally accepted, the Federal Circuit held that the admissibility inquiry is flexible and centers on whether the methodology is reliable and the data used is sufficiently tied to the facts of the case.  The Court held that to the extent Benoit’s credibility, data, or factual assumptions have flaws, these flaws go to the weight of the evidence, not to its admissibility.


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