Apple vs. Samsung: And the WAR Rages On!

Court mandated settlement talks stalled last week as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung couldn’t agree on the value of each other’s patents, according to a Reuters report.

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Apple chief Tim Cook participated in mediation with Samsung’s Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and mobile chief Shin John-Kyun last week in the San Francisco area to see if the two sides could resolve the dispute, which will go to trial on July 30 in a San Jose federal court. According to sources familiar with the matter, a settlement is unlikely to come ahead of the trial.

Among the issues being disputed is how to value so-called standard essential patents — patents that Samsung agreed to license to competitors on fair and reasonable terms in exchange for having the technology be adopted as an industry standard. Apple believes those patents should be valued lower, a source told Reuters.

The trial will feature both utility and design patents. Apple’s utility patents include those that cover how touchscreen devices discriminate between one finger on the screen, or more, and respond accordingly. Apple’s design patents include those that relate to the black front surface of an iPhone.

The mediation last week was at least the second between top executives at the two companies. A previous session in May didn’t bear any fruit.

While the industry in recent years has been rife with patent litigation, that between Apple and Samsung stands out from the crowd for many reasons, not the least of which is that the two have a long-standing relationship that could come crumbling down if the fighting becomes too bitter.

Samsung counts Apple as its biggest customer, making parts central to many of its mobile devices, while Apple counts Samsung as one of its chief suppliers. But their $5 billion-plus relationship may be up for grabs as they find themselves more often competitors than partners.

Samsung’s Galaxy tablet and its touchscreen Galaxy smartphone, which both run on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, are thought to be the biggest competitors yet for Apple’s iPad and iPhone. And as companies like Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) continue flailing, Apple and Samsung have risen to the top, doing battle in some very thin air.

It could be only a matter of time before one of them chooses to end their relationship in an effort to cripple the other.

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