Apple, Samsung Begin Patent Talks

After months of bitter rivalry, Apple and Samsung are getting ready to discuss patent settlement deals that could likely end the legal disputes between the two leading smartphone makers.

Apple has accused Samsung of copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung alleges Apple illegally used Samsung-owned 3G technologies. Both companies have agreed to pursue a settlement to seek possible cross-licensing deals.

Both companies have sued the other in various jurisdictions due to alleged intellectual property infringement. Apple alleges that Samsung blatantly copied the design of its iPhone and iPad in the Korean company’s own offerings. Meanwhile, Samsung claims that Apple used 3G technologies owned by Samsung without permission.

As a result, both companies have sought injunctions against each other in at least 10 jurisdictions, with some limited success. Aside from the U.S., the two companies are currently undergoing legal proceedings in South Korea, Australia, Germany, France and the UK.

A U.S. judge has ordered the two companies to attempt a settlement through Magistrate Judge Settlement proceedings. If talks fail, then the two companies will face trial for their competing claims in July 2012.

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a hard line against Samsung, and stressed that Android is a “stolen product” that needs to be eliminated from the marketplace. However, current Apple head Tim Cook has said he preferred to settle disputes amicably, rather than through a potentially exhausting and expensive legal action.

A potential outcome of the settlement deal might include cross-licensing, which would mean the two companies can share certain technologies and designs across their product offerings.