By Don Southerton, KoreaLegal.org Editor
In the latest round of legal action, the US court presiding over the case asked Samsung and Apple to meet with hopes they will work out their differences.
Korea Herald notes:
Samsung Electronics confirmed Wednesday that its vice chairman Choi Gee-sung will meet with Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook to discuss matters on their ongoing patent disputes in nine different nations.
“We decided to work together on reaching a compromise with Apple by arranging a meeting of chief executives, along with the firms’ legal representatives within 90 days in response to a court’s order,” said a Samsung official.
The official, however, did not release an exact date or location of the meeting. Some reports pointed to the possibility of the talk taking place at a courthouse in San Francisco.
The decision came after U.S. Judge Lucy Koh, a federal judge presiding over two Samsung vs. Apple lawsuits in the Northern District of California, asked the two parties whether they would participate in the alternative dispute resolution effort. She gave a 90-day deadline.
While agreeing to join the effort, the two electronics giants told the court that they were both willing to take part in a magistrate judge settlement with Judge Joseph Spero as mediator.
“At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions,” the companies said.
If carried out as they said in court, it will be the first time for the heads of the global firms to sit down together in a bid to find a solution to their controversial patent war.
Samsung and Apple are currently engaged in about 30 patent battles involving telecommunications technology, designs and user interfaces for their wireless gadgets at courts in Germany, Australia, the U.K., the U.S., Japan, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Korea.
The Korean IT behemoth recently filed another infringement suit against Apple in a Seoul court last month, claiming that the U.S.-based firm’s iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 infringed upon three of its patents, including a user interface-related patent.
Earlier on March 2, the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany dismissed two patent suits, one filed by Samsung against its U.S. rival over its 3G wireless technology and another filed by Apple on claims that the Korean firm violated its slide-to-unlock technology patent.
Although talks over the possibility of a cross-license have been frequently emerging, Samsung’s mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun also emphasized Samsung’s hardline stance on the issue. Shin has repeated in the past that there is no backing down in the patent war against Apple.
“A similar effort took place between Oracle and Google last fall and again a few weeks ago, but now they’re battling it out at a trial that started yesterday,” said Munich-based intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, who is keeping a close eye on the ongoing patent dispute.
“The courts can obligate the parties to meet and talk, but they can’t force them to settle … Nevertheless, the arrival of Tim Cook and his counterpart from Samsung, Choi Gee-sung, at a San Francisco courthouse will be a major event ― and maybe something will come out of this after all, though I’m skeptical.”