Apple, Samsung CEOs once again fail to reach pre-trial agreement on patents

Apple, Samsung CEOs once again fail to reach pre-trial agreement on patents

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung's Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and mobile chief Shin Jong-Kyun have once again reportedly failed to come to an agreement on their now long-standing patent dispute during a second round of court-mandated settlement talks. Citing several sources familiar with the talks, Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta, writing for Reuters said:

Apple believes [FRAND] patents should be valued lower due to those dynamics, one of the sources said. Additionally, Samsung believes it has a stronger patent portfolio than Apple when it comes to next-generation technology like 4G, the source said.

FRAND patents are supposed to be licensed under "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminate" terms in exchange for their being adopted as essential standards in a technology. Apple chooses to keep their patents proprietary and not license them, rather than to have them become part of a standard. Some courts and government regulators have taken issue with FRAND patents being used to sue or counter-sue against non-FRAND patents and, in the EU, ant-trust investigations have begun looking into them.

This was at least the second court-mediated settlement talk to fail. While Apple and Samsung continue to sue each other over patents, and whether or not Samsung copied the iPhone and iPad, or Apple violated core Samsung technologies, Apple remains Samsung's largest customer, sourcing numerous components from Samsung's manufacturing division.

If Apple and Samsung can't reach an agreement, the case will go to court and then it'll be out of their hands. Since courts have varied widely in patent decisions of late, from tosses cases out of court to issuing injunctions, what happens next will be hard to predict. Except for the amount of time and money spent by all parties involved.

I'm still calling for Judge Judy to step in and settle everything in 30 min of snark.

Source: Reuters

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple, Samsung CEOs once again fail to reach pre-trial agreement on patents


When the court tells you to work it out, and you can not, the judge is usually not happy. The ruling will not usually be good. They should have worked it out. I do not know why, but I can see a judge throwing the whole thing out.

Think of it this way. FRAND-encumbered patents require the patent holder to let anyone use their technology for a price. Because the technology is necessary for any and all players who want to enter the market. Their products end up all being the same in that one particular aspect.

Apple's patented, proprietary technology and designs are what make iPhone different from any other smartphone. Apple isn't required to license their proprietary technology to anyone at any price. Sony didn't license their Trinitron TV tube technology to anybody, and their TVs were clearly superior right up until the patent expired in 1996. Same thing with Apple, for their hardware and software designs and technologies.

Can you honestly sit there with a straight face and say that universal (local+web) search, multi-touch, and swipe(or tap)-to-unlock are anything more than natural and obvious technologies? Or that they should rightfully be considered "patented, proprietary technology"?

That is absurd.