And so it ends? Apple and Samsung mediation scheduled on May 21

May 1, 2012
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The time-consuming, money-eating, resource-devouring legal war between Apple and Samsung, the world’s two most important smartphone manufacturers, could be gearing towards a surprising end in less than a month.

Court mandated mediation will take place on May 21 and 22, according to official information, and the whole technology world is hoping that the two giants will finally have the sense to discuss settling and put the ugly legal disputes of the past behind them.

We reported a while back that Lucy Koh, the judge presiding over several of the lawsuits between Apple and Samsung in the US, had “invited” the two companies’ CEOs to participate at a settlement conference. Both Apple and Sammy quickly (and unsurprisingly) agreed to take part to the mediation, their swift positive answer being caused by the fact that…well, they didn’t have much choice but to say yes.

While the two giants technically could have refused to participate to the settlement talks, such a response could have been interpreted by the court as unwillingness to solve the legal dispute, which would have hurt the “offender’s” chances to ultimately win the “war”.

In a similarly unsurprising manner, the official dates for the mediation have been announced very quickly after Judge Koh’s ruling last month, and are set a full six weeks before the court’s deadline. Why is that unsurprising? Because it’s pretty obvious that neither Samsung nor Apple wants to give up the patent legal war, so they are trying to get this mediation out of their way as soon as possible.

The two companies will meet in a San Francisco court presided by magistrate judge Joseph J. Spero. The entire mediation process, including all statements from parties involved, will be (or at least it should be) fully confidential.

Apple’s Tim Cook and Samsung’s Choi Gee-Sung are expected by the San Francisco court to present “a candid evaluation of the parties’ likelihood of prevailing on the claims and defenses” on May 21 and 22. In other words, both companies will be asked to evaluate their winning chances in the several pending trials. This sounds a bit strange to me, as I can’t imagine either part admitting that it doesn’t stand a chance of winning this humongous legal war.

For those of you who have been living under a (very remote) rock for the past couple of years, we should mention that Apple was the one that started this whole legal shenanigan, by accusing Samsung of copying several of its product designs. Sammy counterattacked by filing a bunch of legal actions accusing the iPhone maker of infringing 10 of the Koreans’ patents.

Even though there’s little chance for the Apple vs Samsung war to end with a truce later this month, at least in my humble opinion, the mediation talks should be interesting to watch, as, in most cases, they leak exclusive information to the press.

Stay tuned on our website to find out everything there is to know about “the clash of the tech titans”. For the time being, tell us if you think we’ll ever see an end to all these accusations, quarrels, and battles. Also, does anyone really care anymore?

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