Infringing feature of software product valued using survey

Applied Marketing Science (AMS) provided critical survey data in a landmark case involving alleged copyright infringement of a popular spreadsheet program. We provided survey expertise to an economic consulting firm that was retained by the defendant to develop damages estimates and critique the plaintiff’s damages models. We first conducted a Voice of the Customer analysis to generate the list of attributes consumers considered in their software purchases. We then used these attributes in a conjoint study to capture statistical data on consumer buying preferences. Based on this information, our expert showed that the aspects of the menu structure in dispute were not as critical as the plaintiff had asserted. The First Circuit found for our client, concluding that the allegedly infringing features were not copyrightable. The plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court, which did not reverse the First Circuit’s opinion.

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