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Judge in Apple-Samsung trial urges CEOs meet again

updated 02:00 pm EDT, Wed August 15, 2012

Both companies agree to Koh's request, seek settlement

Two days after further narrowing the case between Apple and Samsung by removing three Samsung phones that aren't sold in the US from consideration for infringement and damages, US District Judge Lucy Koh has opted for a last-ditch request to try and settle the case. Today, she requested that both Apple's and Samsung's CEOs meet once again to try and resolve differences before the trial winds down and the competing claims are handed to the jury.

Both Tim Cook and his Samsung counterpart Choi Gee-sung have met previously, most recently last month in another court-ordered mediation session, but could not come to an agreement on fundamental issues. "If you [both] can have your CEOs have one last conversation, I'd appreciate it," the judge told lawyers for both parties, though she stressed that the last-chance talks were due to the great risks faced by both companies if they fail to win, not to try and avoid the case going to the jury. "I don't mean to waste their time," she said.

Samsung will be presenting its final witnesses this week, with each side planning a two-hour closing argument next week before the jury begins deliberations. Koh said that she suspected that neither side would get a clear-cut win, and asked both companies to further narrow their claims to give the jury less complexity to wrestle with.

Both Apple and Samsung have agreed to the judge's request for another executive-level meeting to try and resolve at least some differences. Apple has generally been seen to have a strong case that Samsung infringed on some of its design and software patents as well as "trade dress" issues, but Samsung has fired back with some evidence that undermines the originality of some of Apple's claims, a strong denial that the company intended to infringe, and charges of its own that Apple has infringed on some of its own patents. Now that the majority of the evidence either side has on the other has already been presented, the willingness of one or the other company to settle some claims may be further enhanced.

Koh noted that both companies had done a good job of raising awareness of their various intellectual property issues. Currently Apple's claim is that 17 of Samsung's devices, including both smartphones and tablets, infringe on four software and design patents and a number of "trade dress" claims. Samsung has claimed that Apple is infringing on two of its own patents.

Both companies are seeking US product bans and monetary damages, and risk having to recall products and redesign if they lose their patent challenges, depending on the rulings. Koh referred to the complexity of the case, which has already been narrowed several times, as "overreaching" and encouraged further narrowing but said it was up to the parties to streamline the case further.

by MacNN Staff



  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    Isn't the whole reason they are in court that they can not come to an agreement? Is Koh trying to avoid something here?

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-21-10

    Re: "If you [both] can have your CEOs have one last conversation, I'd appreciate it, ..."

    They won't agree to settle out of court, or else they would have done so months ago. Apple strongly believes that Samsung is benefiting from their design work by copying, and they don't want others to copy their designs. Samsung can't admit that they copied, and is turning the copying argument against Apple in their defense. I don't see any way that they can reconcile. I don't see why Judge Koh is even bothering to ask yet again.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-04-04

    @hayesk @NewsPoster

    The answer to both your questions was clearly stated in the article. She wants them to meet one more time because unlike, the previous meeting, both sides now see the evidence that has been presented and have seen how the jury has reacted to their lawyers' presentations. This really doesn't come down to who is right or wrong...this comes down to what the jury agrees upon. Samsung may lose and they may have to pay big $$$. Or Samsung could lose and the judge could award a tiny amount of $$$. While it seems unlikely, Apple also could lose. What would Apple do if after all of this litigation they had to pull their products from the market? Apple stocks would plummet.

    So, it is in both their interests to try and hammer out some agreement before they let the jury make a decision they may both dislike. Really the best thing is for them to cross license their patents and all would be well and good. Apple would have access to Samsung's patents are a fair price and Samsung would have access to the double tap patent (the others are silly - but who knows what a jury will decide) and could be forced to change the appearance of the TouchWiz UI.

    Then everyone could pay the lawyers too much money, raise their prices to cover the legal fees (we all get screwed) and then everybody goes and makes more money...Isn't that all that matters to corporations?

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