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Apple and Samsung announce truce in patent war, but only outside US
Apple and Samsung agreed to drop all suits against each other, with the exception of current cases on trial in the US.
The legal saga between Samsung and Apple began in 2011, when the Cupertino-based company filed suit against its Korean rival in a US court. Samsung retaliated with its own suits, and the skirmish quickly escalated to a full blown patent war fought in courtrooms across nine countries.
The combatants reaped little benefits from their expensive, and at times embarrassing, public fight. Apple ultimately failed to stop Samsung’s rise to domination, while the $1 billion+ compensation it received in two lawsuits in California (still pending appeals) is just a minor, though PR-valuable, win, in the grand scheme of things. And, with a few precious exceptions, Samsung failed to score points against Apple, and worse, got into hot water with the EU over its litigation based on standard-essential patents.
Now the two tech behemoths are moving closer to ending their legal war. “Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” says a joint statement. “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”
The agreement covers disputes in Japan, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, Australia, the UK, France, and Italy.
It’s important to note that the deal does not entail any licensing or other form of non-aggression pact, so it’s more of a truce, rather than a true peace. Nothing stops Apple or Samsung from raising arms again in the future.
Will there be peace?
The war still goes on in the US, arguably the only battleground that truly matters. The two suits that Apple won in 2012 and 2013 are still going through the legal system and it may be another couple of years until they reach a final verdict.
But the agreement suggests Apple and Samsung are engaged in negotiations that could soon bring a true peace between them. The two sides likely agreed to streamline their dispute, to make it easier to reach a global deal. And that’s great news, considering that, if you exclude lawyers, no one really won anything from this whole misadventure, and that’s especially true for consumers.