Apple and Samsung Burying the Hatchet? Don’t Count on it

| Analysis

A new report claims Apple and Samsung have decided to knuckle down and work to bring an end to their ongoing mobile device patent infringement fight. That sounds great, but the reality is that it just doesn't fit with Samsung's strategy, or Apple's intense desire to protect its intellectual property.

Apple and Samsung won't end their patent infringement fight any time soonApple and Samsung won't end their patent infringement fight any time soon

Apple and Samsung have been fighting in courts around the world over cross allegations of infringing on each other's mobile device patents. So far, Apple has scored several big wins in the fight, but hasn't been able to make any meaningful headway in stopping Samsung from copying its hardware and software designs. Samsung did win an injunction in the U.S. blocking the import of some iPhone models, but that was overturned by the White House.

The two companies seem to be at a stalemate because no matter the outcome of their court cases so far, nothing has changed significantly in their business practices. That makes the idea that both sides are seriously interested in negotiating to bring an end to the legal fighting sound enticing.

An anonymous insider Korean Times called an industry official said, "We are trimming down the number of disputed issues. We no longer want to spend time talking about secondary points." The insider added that the talks are in an early stage, and there won't be a resolution any time soon.

The news follows filings from both companies to drop their appeals in an International Trade Commission case leading to an injunction blocking the sale of some older Samsung smartphones. While that may sound like the first step in peace talks, it's more likely a pragmatic view on the investment their both making in a focused fight that isn't going to have an big impact on the overall patent battle.

The game is too big, the stakes are too high, and there's too much money involved for either side to back down. For both Apple and Samsung this is about fighting smarter, not negotiating a cease fire.

Both sides have investing millions of dollars in their patent infringement dispute and they continue to dump more money into their legal resources. Instead of taking a shotgun approach to their litigation, both companies have enough experience now to start focusing on the battles where they see the most value in the outcome.

Apple isn't a company known for sharing its technology with competitors. Samsung's copy and litigate modus operandi has worked well for it in more than just the smartphone and tablet markets, and there is little incentive for the company to change. As long as neither company is willing to give up on their long standing practices, there isn't much hope for an end to their court room fighting.

Apple and Samsung may be holding talks on some level outside the court room about their patent infringement dispute, but so far neither side has been willing to bend enough to end their fighting. That won't change any time soon, and assuming that's happening based on a single unconfirmed report will only leave you disappointed.

Comments

mhikl

Jeff, thanks for the report. I’ve had indigestion since seeing headlines on what looked like conciliation.

That would be akin to Churchill saying Hitler was a jolly good fellow.

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