Apple and Samsung have been duking it out in courtrooms across several countries. This multijurisdictional legal battle all center on Apple’s claims that Samsung violated its smartphone and tablet patents and trademarks. Samsung, for its part, has countersued Apple claiming that Apple infringed on its intellectual property rights.
No less than the CEOs of these two technology giants, Apple’s Tim Cook and Samsung’s Gee-Sung Choi are expected to confer in San Francisco to try and hammer out their dispute. Keep in mind that this tete-a-tete is not a voluntary meeting-it was ordered by the federal district judge handling their lawsuits, Lucy Koh.
The negotiation sessions are not random free for all events. Don’t expect any Donald Trump “Art of the Deal” type shenanigans. Instead, the court has assigned a referee, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, to preside over the negotiations. The stakes could not be any higher-both companies have 47 current lawsuits in nine other countries. Consumers should also pay attention because, depending on how the cases go, their selection of tablet computers and smart phones, in addition to the price ranges they pay, might be impacted by case’s outcome.
Still, the track record of such court-ordered settlement negotiations has been mixed. Take the case of another high profile trial pitting two technology giants, Oracle vs Google. In that court-mandated settlement negotiation, both sides failed to come to a settlement and the case progressed to trial. Still, the Samsung-Apple dispute might have a different fate than the Oracle-Google litigation. Apple has already made efforts to settle with Samsung. No other than Apple’s legendary former CEO Steve Jobs reached out to Samsung in 2010 to try and settle their intellectual property disputes. Moreover, Samsung is a key supplier to Apple. This relationship stands in stark contract to Google and Oracle who are more direct competitors. Considering their symbiotic/joined-at-the-hip relationship, it is crucial for both parties to come to an agreement. Finally, instead of the court-ordered settlement talks being viewed as merely an annoying formality until a legal showdown in trial court, the settlement talks might afford both sides a face-saving opportunity.