Huawei and Samsung have now agreed to settle a long-standing dispute over patent use, reportedly filing a joint report asking for a stay of judgment as details and terms of the settlement are finalized. Details of the settlement and the reason behind the filing have not been revealed but the current expectation is that the bulk of finalization will center around Huawei dropping an appeal filing against Samsung.
Specifically, that would be a filing against a Samsung injunction seeking to nullify an earlier judgment that would have halted Samsung 4G LTE phone sales in China. The US courts had, at the time, instructed Huawei not to enforce the resulting ban.
A settlement would bring an end to those types of discrepancies between rulings in the US and China, where the case and ensuing cases have continued to play out.
The settlement could go beyond saving money for both companies and further confusion by ending the expensive proceedings for both companies too. It may actually be useful to each organization's reputation to varying degrees.
Not only are the patents in question primarily considered to be standard essential patents (SEPs), ultimately pertaining to an invention that is regarded as required for the technology in question, ensuring a drawn-out battle if proceedings continue. Patent disputes are among the most controversial undertakings and could ultimately cause harm to either company.
In the case of Samsung, the company is presently undertaking a campaign of openness and inclusiveness in the industry, particularly as that pertains to AI and its Bixby. For Huawei, matters are more complicated as it faces severe scrutiny from not just consumers but from world governments over its alleged ties to the Chinese government.
Several of Huawei's executives have faced charges of illegal behavior ranging from fraud to activity more well-suited for a spy thriller than a news report. The latter of those includes charges of corporate espionage backed up by a wealth of documentation and directly tied into the misuse of patented inventions. An ongoing patent dispute between the company and others in the industry could be easily construed to be based on a double-standard or hypocritical.
Huawei similarly faces a battle for its reputation amid claims that its 5G networking equipment represents a national security threat.
While more in-depth information about the settlement may not ever be brought to light, any negative press generated around either company will undoubtedly impact their respective standing in terms of public perception and reputation. The ongoing case between Huawei and Samsung represents at least one area where it might be able to mitigate that potential harm.
A short-term solution that might not work
The stay the two companies have filed for has a term of 30-days. That's much shorter than the expected case itself, which would not have gone to trial until September but negotiations are still very much ongoing. So none of that necessarily means the settlement will ultimately be successful. Neither company is publicly commenting on the matter either, which may or may not be an indication of how tedious the circumstances surrounding negotiations are.