When we last left the patent war between Samsung and Apple, federal judge Lucy Koh was asking the two parties to freeze their second dispute, which is currently awaiting a trial date, until an appeals court finishes up with hearing arguments of their first case. This was a case that Apple won last summer earning a giant $1.05 billion dollar settlement over Samsung for infringing on six of Apple's mobile design patents.
The instructions that Koh gave to the parties at that time was that they needed to file a joint status report, ready by March 7th to clearly sum up their positions and whether they would agree to put their second case on hold. Otherwise the trial is scheduled to proceed on March 31, 2014. Today she gave the two parties notice that they needed to narrow down the lawsuits even further.
Speaking to the lawyers from both companies today in a courtroom in San Jose, Judge Koh stated that they must "focus and streamline" their cases to 25 patent claims, or elements of the patents at issue, and 25 accused products. She went on to say "We'll keep narrowing and narrowing. You've already been litigating this thing for a year; you must know something about what's your best case."
Currently in the lawsuit in question has the two sides are battling over newer devices. Apple is claiming infringement on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Note 2. For their part Samsung brought up a counter suit against "all generations" of Apple's iPhone and iPads claiming that they infringe at least three of its patents. This even brings Apple's latest handset the iPhone 5 into the mix.
Koh who oversaw the last trial in 2012 asked for the same type of deal during that one as well. She repeatedly asked the two sides meet in the middle on some of the claims against one another and settle. At that time Koh was quoted as saying "Are there trades that can be made?" and warning "I see risks here for both sides."
It's a shame that they didn't take her advice that time. Considering that these two companies can work together with Samsung providing a lot of the components for those very same iPads and iPhones that are part of this suit, it would only seem logical that they agree to some sort of cross licensing agreement. At least it does from the outside looking in.