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Apple vs. Samsung: Imminent Settlement Seems Dim
Apple vs. Samsung: Imminent Settlement Seems Dim

By Howard Mintz
May 22, 2014 9:44AM

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While expressing willingness to discuss a settlement, both Apple and Google are making it clear they consider their competing positions incompatible with a resolution. In court papers, Apple and Samsung traded hostilities as they accused each other of failing to be serious about settling ongoing litigation over patent-infringement allegations.

Apple and Samsung have dashed hopes that last week's peace treaty between the iPhone giant and Google might be a prelude to an imminent global settlement in their bitter 4-year-old global patent feud.

In court papers filed Monday night, Apple and Samsung traded hostilities as they accused each other of failing to be serious about settling ongoing litigation over allegations that the South Korean tech power has copied iPhone and iPad technology. The joint court filing came in response to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh's request to address whether the companies would be willing to resume settlement talks in the aftermath of their most recent trial.

But both companies, while expressing willingness to discuss a settlement, made it clear they consider their competing positions incompatible with a resolution.

A federal jury earlier this month delivered a mixed verdict in the second trial between Apple and Samsung, ordering Samsung to pay about $120 million for infringing some iPhone patents -- a verdict that was far less than Apple sought in damages and that rejected a number of the Cupertino company's claims of copying. The jury also found Apple violated one of Samsung's patents.

A previous 2012 trial resulted in Samsung being ordered to pay nearly $1 billion in damages for copying iPhone and iPad technology in older lines of smartphones and tablets. A federal appeals court is now weighing appeals from both companies in that case; Samsung has appealed the verdict while Apple has appealed the judge's refusal to block the sales of Samsung products.

Given that Samsung has argued Apple's primary legal quarrel is with Google because its Android operating system runs the Samsung products targeted in the patent fight, there was some speculation that last week's settlement between Apple and Google could fuel a similar pact. Apple settled patent litigation with Google's Motorola smartphone unit, although the stakes in that court fight pale in comparison, given that Apple and Samsung are by far the top two players in the smartphone and tablet markets.

In the court papers filed Monday, Apple indicated Samsung is planning to exploit settlement talks to use as ammunition in ongoing court battles around the world, primarily to argue that such settlement negotiations show Apple would license its technology to its chief rival. This, Apple said in court papers, undermines efforts to reach a deal in the meantime.

Apple also cited remarks in the media after the recent trial from Samsung's lead lawyer, John Quinn, as evidence Samsung is not ready to settle, including his comment that "it's kind of hard to talk settlement with a jihadist."

"Apple remains concerned that despite protestations to the contrary, Samsung has adopted a business model that prohibits early or even timely resolution of any dispute involving intellectual property infringement," Apple reported to Koh.

Samsung, however, contends Apple is making unrealistic demands to even meet for settlement, asking Samsung to abandon legal arguments in the courts without a deal. Samsung said it "remains amenable to discussing settlement," but Apple is "attempting to extort an improper concession from Samsung."

© 2014 San Jose Mercury News (CA) under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.

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