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Settlement Talks Between Apple and Samsung in the Works?

May 19, 2014 - Written By Joshua Koh

A report out of Korea has indicated that Samsung and Apple are in talks over settlement. This comes from insiders who are well acquainted with this matter and might be credible. The timing for this couldn’t be more coincidental as Google and Apple have recently agreed to a ceasefire. This could be indicative of the shifting view that Apple does not see any benefits in continuing the patent wars. This mindset could have been further reinforced by the recent lawsuit in which Apple itself was found guilty of infringing on Samsung’s patents. To put it simply, besides the waste of time, effort and money, the patent wars have not in anyway hindered Android’s growth or Samsung’s capacity to selling Android devices. Google’ offer of monetary aid and legal counselling to Samsung could have also contribute to this differing view that Apple now has.

As of now, it would seem that the issue of royalties due to both companies is what takes top priority. This would mean that it would take a while to settle the legal & monetary aspects of the settlement and any differing opinions that both have over their patents. The move is also seen as an exit strategy by Florian Mueller, an intellectual property expert, as Steve Job’s views on Apple’s patents strength were unrealistic aka not strong enough to bring down Android. In short, so as to avoid having to waste resources into a prolonged mudslinging competition, this could be the quickest and easiest way out of the mess. Another potential factor could be Apple’s reliance on Samsung as a provider of its iPad displays. This largely due to Samsung being the only supplier that Apple can count on to provide it with the required number of displays for the iPad. Samsung could possibly raise the cost of these displays in retaliation over the patent disputes and Apple’s move could be to prevent such a situation.

It is great to see that both companies are recognising the futility in carrying out the patents wars. It would better still if these talks are fruitful in shutting down the patent disputes altogether as innovation seems to be something that has been lacking from both organisations. Is this the beginning of the end, or it is simply a respite before Apple and Samsung decides to carry on their dispute while knowing that there is no end result to speak of?