Apple, Samsung may be headed toward patent settlement

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook and Samsung Electronics CEO Choi Gee-sung will take part in mediation talks designed to reach a settlement in the long-running patent litigation between the two smartphone giants, according to a court filing.

In a court filing, both companies agreed to the settlement talks. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday directed the companies to a San Francisco-based magistrate judge who will lead the talks. The mediation talks, which must take place within the next 90 days, will also include the companies' general counsels.

If Apple and Samsung cannot reach a settlement they will have to submit streamlined versions of their patent complaints and defenses. Both sides said they are willing to participating in the talks but also said they are working to narrow their claims for a trial this summer.

Apple first sued Samsung in April 2011, claiming that Samsung "slavishly" copied its iPhone design. Samsung countersued and since then the patent battle between the companies has spread to multiple continents, reaching 20 cases in 10 countries. Samsung and Apple are the world's two largest smartphone makers, with Apple landing the No. 1 position in global smartphone sales in the fourth quarter.

Apple offered both Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) and Samsung a way out of their respective ongoing patent litigation fights by licensing some of Apple's patents, according to a March report in the Wall Street Journal.

The report, which cited unnamed sources, said that Apple did not want to offer patent licenses to all its competitors or create a royalty business. However, the report said Apple, which has won some victories against Motorola, Samsung and other Android handset makers while losing others, may find it impractical to block Android form the market.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this The Verge article

Related Articles:
Analyst: Nokia, IBM, Microsoft and Samsung dominate mobile patents
Motorola wanted Apple to license all its patents, according to EU
Report: Apple offers to settle patent fights with Motorola, Samsung--for a price
Apple expands patent battles against Samsung, Motorola
Apple, Google square off over patent standards