Apple and Samsung patent 'peace talks' begin

By Peter Gothard
21 May 2012 View Comments
Apple iPad

Apple and Samsung's long-running mobile technology patent disputes are expected to come to a head today, as two days of court-directed talks begin.

Since 2009, when Samsung adopted the Google Android platform – itself the subject of Oracle's lawsuit against Google over the use of Java APIs in Android builds – Samsung has been slowly growing in prominence in the mobile market.

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In 2010, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung accusing the company of too closely immitating its touch-screen smartphones in both look and functionality. Samsung responded by accusing Apple of breaking some of its own patents on phone technology.

In the years since, the two companies have faced each other in court in nine countries, the majority of rulings landing in Apple's favour while Samsung has failed to win injunctions to stop Apple trading.

Apple fired a final salvo at Samsung, prior to today's hearing, on Saturday, when it filed for a preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet being sold in the US. This comes after a similar move in Germany last year, when Samsung had to redesign and re-release the tablet as the Galaxy Tab 10.1N in order to get it onto shelves.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and general counsel Bruce Sewell will, says Apple, appear on the company's behalf in court today in San Francisco. Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung and executive vice-president Ahn Seung-ho will be present to represent the South Korean company.

If and when a winner is declared, the stakes are high; if Apple wins, it could conceivably see not just Samsung, but other major Android suppliers banned from trading on US soil. A loss for Apple, meanwhile, could add another hefty dent to its armour at a time when Samsung's mobile sales continue to accelerate across the global mobile market.

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