Apple and Samsung Look for ‘Common Ground’ to End Patent War


Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK) may be nearing a ceasefire after several false starts to peace talks in their long-running patent war. Apple Insider reports that an unnamed “industry official” told the Korea Times the two companies are “trimming down the number of disputed issues” and looking for common ground and resolution of their long legal battle. The official told the Korea Times that “it’s too early to say that the ongoing working-level talks will produce an immediate breakthrough, but we are more practical about trying to find a solution.”

Apple Insider also reported that the companies have moved to drop all cross-appeals related to last year’s ruling that Samsung infringed on two of Apple’s patents related to a touchscreen interface and headset plug detection technology. In that ruling, Apple won import bans against some Samsung products. The bans remain in effect even though Samsung no longer manufactures or ships the affected products, and its newer products feature workarounds and don’t infringe on Apple’s patents. Additionally, a patent-infringement lawsuit in 2012 awarded Apple almost $1 billion at the time. However, a damages retrial last year brought that amount down to $290 million. A second trial concluded last month found both companies guilty of copying each other’s features and infringing on each other’s patents. However, Samsung was ordered to pay $119.6 million, while Apple was ordered to pay just $158,400. Samsung has since filed an appeal.

Apple has continued to pursue Samsung in court, and the motivation to end the patent war now most likely stems from Apple’s desire to retain Samsung as a supplier for displays and processors. Last month, CNET reported that Samsung was the biggest supplier of iPad displays in the first quarter of 2014, shipping displays that Apple uses in its iPad Air and iPad with Retina display. And according to rumors reported by Apple Insider, Apple could be considering Samsung’s OLED technology for wearable devices like the iWatch it’s eventually expected to launch.