Apple and Samsung fail in mediation attempts


A mediation session between warring smartphone makers Apple and Samsung has failed and the pair will be heading back to court, according to reports.

The mediation would have seen both companies’ chief executives discuss their issues with a team of in-house lawyers, ahead of the latest patent infringement trial due to start next month.

The sessions, a last ditch attempt at a potential settlement between the parties, were due to be held on or before a deadline of February 19.

However, according to Korean news website Chosun, Samsung’s mobile division chief JK Shin is in South-Korea and not planning on travelling to the US before the deadline, suggesting unsuccessful talks had already taken place or had been cancelled.

Both companies declined to comment on the matter when contacted by WIPR.

Michael Oblon, partner at Perkins Coie, in Washington, DC, said it seemed clear that the parties would be going to trial again.

“The courts know that the parties might be amenable to settlement, but neither side wants to initiate discussions because it could be viewed as a sign of weakness,” said Oblon.

Bob Stoll, partner at Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP in Washington, DC said he anticipated “stumbling blocks” during the attempted negotiations, adding that there was a lot of “bad blood” between the parties.

Oblon added: “Even if the mediation doesn’t resolve the case, the court may postpone the trial if the parties report that some progress was made in the mediation. But that does not seem to be the case for Apple and Samsung.

"From what we can see, the parties will go to trial again very soon.”

At the centre of the upcoming lawsuit, due to begin on March 31, are some of Apple and Samsung’s latest smartphones, media players, tablets and computers.

The products covered include the Galaxy S III, iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

In a pre-trial hearing at the US District Court for the Northern District of California on January 21, Judge Lucy Koh ruled one Samsung patent invalid and said it had infringed another Apple patent.

The ruling means Samsung will only be able to assert four patents in the jury trial compared to Apple’s five and will have to rely on invalidity arguments on the patent it was deemed to have infringed.

South Korea-based Samsung and California-based Apple are currently engaged in a worldwide patent dispute and have been jostling to assert their position in the lucrative smartphone market.

Arguably the most high profile case between the pair was settled at the end of last year when Samsung was ordered to pay Apple more than $900 million.

Samsung was originally ordered to pay its rival $1.05 billion but District Judge Lucy Koh waived $450 million from the figure after concluding the jury did not adequately calculate a portion of the damages and ordered a re-trial.

Following the re-trial that portion of damages was re-valued at $290m.

Stoll added: “I still expect Apple and Samsung to reach a worldwide agreement because it is in both of their interests to do so.”

Stoll said that it was a “costly distraction” to pursue lawsuits, and it made "good business sense" for both companies to settle.

Apple, Samsung, US District Court for Northern District of California, patent