Apple and Samsung to Discuss Settlement Over Patent Lawsuits May 21


A highly contentious and very public lawsuit between Apple and Samsung over Smartphone technology may be moving forward outside of court. The two companies have agreed to hold talks in front of a San Francisco judge on May 21, perhaps the first step in resolving the yearlong dispute over intellectual property.

Spanning 10 countries and 50 filings, the dispute arose when Apple initiated a lawsuit claiming that Samsung "slavishly" copied the iPhone and iPad for its Galaxy line of products. Apple asserts that Samsung copied the appearance of Apple technology. Samsung then countersued, alleging that Apple violated Samsung's patents on certain data communications technology.

Judge Lucy Koh has ordered the two companies to participate in alternative dispute resolution, and both CEOs and general counsels will be in attendance. Various media outlets have reported the ADR is "semi-voluntary" and will be moderated by Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, who is otherwise unaffiliated with the case. It is not clear that the talks will immediately end the litigation, but many experts believe that the talks may help to move the litigation forward. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated in last quarter’s report that he would rather settle than pursue litigation, but that "[we] need people to invent their own stuff."

Apple has been in various lawsuits since 2010 with companies that use Google's Android operating system. Samsung currently provides Apple with many computer chips and other components for its products.

Alternative dispute resolution has gained wide popularity in recent years as companies attempt to limit expensive and time-consuming litigation. ADR uses an unbiased third-party as either a mediator, who facilitates negotiation between the two opposing parties, or as an arbiter, who ultimately resolves the issue after each side has presented arguments. The mediation between Apple and Samsung regarding their intellectual property is non-binding and the dispute may still ultimately be resolved in court.

If you wish to know more about ADR, contact an experienced business mediation and arbitration firm to discuss your legal options.

Schedule a free initial consultation by calling Shustak Reynolds & Partners, P.C. toll free at 888-748-8748, or contact us online

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