With seemingly endless motions still being filed in Apple's first suit against Samsung, it's easy to forget that the two tech giants have yet another patent infringement trial looming and slated to begin in March. Same issues, different products.
That being the case, both Apple and Samsung, thanks to some friendly nudging from the courts, have agreed to have their head honchos meet on February 19 to discuss settlement opportunities. The recently filed proposal in US District Court indicates that Tim Cook, along with three to four members of Apple's in-house legal team, will meet with Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun and his own team of legal lieutenants. And overseeing this meeting of the minds will be an already agreed-upon mediator with "experience mediating high-profile disputes."
Notably, the filing indicates that senior legal executives from both companies already met this past Monday in an effort to reach a settlement agreement, or at the very least, placate the court.
The upcoming tete-a-tete between the two companies shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've followed the Apple-Samsung legal battle closely. You might recall that both companies already went through this same song and dance a few months before their July 2012 trial kicked off. Negotiations back then didn't bear any fruit and Apple, as you know, went on to win a nearly US$1 billion judgment against Samsung. Perhaps this time around, Apple, with a bit more leverage at its disposal, will be able to sway Samsung toward whatever settlement terms it's looking for. But given how fiercely and shrewdly Samsung continues to fight its current legal battle with Apple, something tells me that a signed and sealed settlement agreement won't be reached.
As a final point of interest, recall that Cook briefly touched on Apple's patent suit philosophy during an April 2012 earnings conference call.
"I've always hated litigation and I continue to hate it," Cook said at the time.
Cook next added that he's open to settlement agreements so long as companies agree to stop copying Apple and focus on inventing "their own stuff."
"If we could get to some kind of arrangement where we could be assured that that's the case, and a fair settlement on the stuff that's occurred," Cook calmly stated, "I would highly prefer to settle versus battle."