Apple and Samsung are once again holding talks to settle their patent disputes, and this time they're both said to be focused on dismissing lawsuits and seeing their issues settled out of court, according to The Korea Times. The two companies have intermittently entered these discussions — some voluntarily, others court ordered — for years now, but with the companies' second big court battle over and success on both sides waning, it's looking increasingly likely that Apple could finally be interested in cutting a deal.
"Apple doesn't have an endgame strategy."One big signal of Apple's growing willingness to settle came just days ago, when it and Google reached an agreement to end a long-running patent spat involving Motorola. Notably, the companies didn't agree to cross-license one another's patents — just to dismiss ongoing litigation, effectively forming a ceasefire.
It's also telling that Apple doesn't have another big lawsuit queued up with Samsung right now, as it did immediately following the end of their first big patent battle in 2012. The value of the patents that Apple would be able to bring into future battles is also dropping, making it all the less likely that Apple will be able to win an injunction. Even though Apple has come out the winner twice now, it still hasn't seen the type of substantial victory — including injunctions — that it'd like.
That success could still make Apple's demands for settlement too high, as it probably has in the past, and in any current talks it'll likely still be demanding a substantial payment and some type of anti-cloning provision. Speaking with the Times, intellectual property expert Florian Mueller, of FOSS Patents, says that he expects to see a deal this summer. "Apple doesn't have an endgame strategy," he says. "Its agreement with Google shows that its management is looking for a face-saving exit strategy from Steve Jobs' thermonuclear ambitions that were based on a totally unrealistic assessment of the strength of Apple's patent portfolio."
Mueller tells the Times that it's likely Apple will recognize that it won't be able to achieve any strategic goals through litigation at this point, including gaining market share or hurting Samsung's reputation. It'd be a big change of tone and strategy to see the two reach an agreement, but with their disputes eating resources for increasingly little gain, it could be that it's becoming the most appealing option.
Matt Macari contributed to this report.