Why Can’t We Be Friends? Samsung and Apple Agree to Patent Mediation Talks

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Apple Tim Cook Samsung KwonBitter legal rivals Apple and Samsung have agreed to hold high-level talks in an effort to mediate the dispute between the companies before the next round of litigation begins in March, according to a Reuters report late Wednesday. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon will reportedly attend the mediation session alongside attorneys for each firm, with a goal of holding the session by February 19th. A lower profile meeting between the attorneys for each company was held on Monday, January 6th, to “discuss settlement opportunities.”

Apple and Samsung have been battling in the courts for over two years, with Apple accusing Samsung of violating key patents on a variety of mobile devices. Although Apple has thus far prevailed on the merits in several jurisdictions, the protracted litigation is proving to be a costly and distracting endeavor.

While Apple’s reported legal fees of $60 million are relatively small change for the company, the process of litigating, requesting an injunction, and then finally achieving an import ban on infringing devices simply can’t keep up with the market’s release schedule. The Samsung devices found to infringe in the first trial, for example, were mostly out of date and no longer profitable for the Korean firm. This reality, coupled with the unpopularity of import bans by both U.S. legal and regulatory authorities, makes the idea of a settlement far more agreeable to Apple.

The upcoming meeting won’t be the first between heads of the two companies. Mr. Cook meet with Samsung’s then-CEO Choi Gee-Sung in May of 2012, but talks broke down after Samsung rejected Apple’s demand for royalties. Another meeting in mid–2013 also failed to gain traction.

Comments

RonMacGuy

Tim has GOT to be disgusted meeting with Samsung. They are so pathetic. I feel sorry for him.

George Kafantaris

Hands down, the time and effort spent settling a case far outweighs the time and effort spent litigating it. And the settlement concludes the dispute so each side can go back to doing what it knows best.
Even when you’re right, prosecuting or defending a case is not your business.  So settle it early on and put the matter behind you.
There’re no winners in business litigation—even when you win.

CudaBoy

Has Apple infringed on other patents and got busted for it? Yes. Many times. So, stop bashing SOP,  hypocrits!!. Pretty soon the stuff they are litigating will be so moot it won’t be funny, it only makes sense to stop the drain of resources. Tim is not disgusted - he doesn’t care a whit - it was Jobs’ ego that gave a whit. This is just smart business.

RonMacGuy

George, I agree that there are times when it is better to settle than it is to litigate, but I totally disagree that it is hands down always better.  It’s all about the cost/benefit analysis.  If a company can make more (net) after litigating, then they should litigate.  Given how obnoxiously immoral and unethical Samsung is, there is no way Apple could get them to settle for anything close to what Apple will inevitably win in litigation, even net of litigation costs.  To simply generalize that it is ‘hands down’ better to settle than to litigate makes absolutely no sense.  Is it better for companies to attempt to settle prior to litigation?  Perhaps.  But again, given how incredible pathetic of a company Samsung is, it makes absolutely no sense for Apple to simply settle with them.

John Dingler, artist

Heh. I suspect that criminal and IP infringer Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon really wants to cry “OK! I give” but his corporate Mafia gang would kill him.

RonMacGuy

LOL.  Good one, John!!

CudaBoy

Bottom line: Scoreboard. You can’t argue with the board. Apple’s going to make nice with the supplier of (some of) Apple’s toys because they are pissing about old moot technology compared to the sensor enabled toys about to bombard the world - and it stands to make good business sense for Sample - I mean Samsung and Apple to be pals-in-arms when the smart sensors invade later this year.

geoduck

“The first rule of being a man is
You’re gonna spend your life
Doing crap you don’t want to do.”

Red Foreman

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