Samsung and Apple CEOs to meet and participate in ‘settlement negotiations’

April 19, 2012
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Although I’m sure most of you know this by now, the corporate world is definitely not one bound to the rules of common sense. One of the numerous examples on the topic is ongoing patent dispute between the number one and number two smartphone manufacturers in the world, a litigation that continues despite the fact that Apple is currently one of Samsung’s biggest clients. According to recent rumors, the South Korean giant manufactures $8 billion worth of various components that end up inside the iPhone and the iPad, the two best selling (and most profitable overpriced) Apple devices. Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung are involved in extremely costly and resource intensive litigation against each other in no less than nine countries. Cha-ching, old cash register style for both legal teams involved.

In this context, Lucy Koh – the judge presiding over several of the lawsuits between Apple and Samsung in the US – has announced that both companies have responded positively to the Court’s invitation to participate at a settlement conference. “The parties have indicated that they are willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference (‘MJSC’). ECF No. 873. Therefore, the parties are hereby referred to an MJSC with Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero with a 90-day deadline. As the parties have indicated in their joint statement, the chief executive officer and general counsel of Apple and the chief executive officer and general counsel of Samsung shall appear and participate at the MJSC.” said Judge Koh. The armies of suits shall descend.

It should be noted that both companies had little choice but to participate to the court-ordered negotiations. If either CEO would have announced their absence at the negotiations, it would have been received as lack of cooperation by the Judge. And it’s more than a safe bet to assume neither CEO would want to displease the Judge. Similar court-ordered negotiations took place in a couple of occasions between two other tech giants recently involved in litigation against each other, but Google and Oracle were unable to find the middle path and are now fighting each other in a trial that began a few days ago, a trial where both CEOs are expected to take the stand as witnesses.

The intellectual property war between the two biggest smartphone producers in the world will most likely continue even after these negotiations, as was the case with the Oracle vs Google dispute. In addition, there’s a big chance that the current trials are only a small battle and that the war will span for a number of years in the future. But then again, there is also a small chance that Samsung and Apple will find the way to sort things out.

What do you guys think? Could these negotiations actually lead to a settlement? Or are they just a formal step before armies of lawyers are deployed in court combat? Drop us a line in the comment section below and let us know what you think!

Honestly, do you even care?

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