At a settlement conference last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook and executives from Samsung Electronic disagreed on the value of the opposing parties’ patents. The two world’s largest companies of consumer electronics continue to disagree as the trial here in the US looms ahead, scheduled for July 30 in San Jose, California. According to a report by wire Reuters, Cook participated in mediation with Samsung’s Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and mobile chief Shin Jong-Kyun last Monday in the San Francisco area to potentially resolve the dispute ahead of trial.
The two companies had to get together as part of the mediation process as directed by the US District Court that will be hearing the case. The unnamed sources sourced in the Reuters report say that it is unlikely any settlement will happen before the actual trial, something I could have told Reuters, actually. Both companies also declined to comment, though a Samsung spokesperson declined to give out any details on what is “an ongoing legal matter.”
One of the big topics being watched right now has to do with what are called “standard essential patents,” which refer to patents that companies can license to competitors. This is usually done to have certain technologies become an industry standard, and thus allowing for more licensees. Many of Samsung’s claims in this case involve these kinds of patents. Apple believes them to be of less value than its own patent claims, of course. Samsung believes it has a stronger patent portfolio than Apple in regards to technology like 4G.
In other words, both companies think the other one is full of it. Which makes sense heading into a patent infringement trial, right? A previous mediation conference in May resulted in the same non-agreement, so this current disagreement feels a bit par for the course.
The case, for those following along at home, in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.