John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Yeah, Good Luck With That: Apple, Samsung Mediation Set for Late May

Apple and Samsung’s sprawling 50-suit legal battle continues apace, with no end in sight, though hostilities between the two companies have calmed enough for them to attempt mediation.

And so, on May 21 and 22, Samsung Vice Chairman Gee-Sung Choi, Apple CEO Tim Cook and their respective legal counsel will meet in San Francisco to discuss possible settlements to their metastasizing IP spat, and to draw up for the judge presiding over it “a candid evaluation of the parties’ likelihood of prevailing on the claims and defenses.”

While the talks are a welcome development in what is fast becoming the Hundred Years’ War of intellectual property battles, it would be naive to believe that they’ll actually result in a settlement at this point. The stakes are too high and the fronts in the battle too numerous; FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller observes that Apple and Samsung are suing one another in 10 countries, with more than 50 lawsuits pending. Hard to imagine Cook and Choi hugging it out after two days of chats.

And as much as Cook dislikes litigation, it’s clear that he’s even less fond of the of the sort of “slavish” design copying of which Apple has accused Samsung.

“I’ve always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it,” Cook said during Apple’s last earnings call. “We just want people to invent their own stuff. And so if we could get to some kind of arrangement where we could be assured that’s the case and a fair settlement on the stuff that’s occurred, I would highly prefer to settle versus battle. But the key thing is that it’s very important that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff.”

If Samsung is willing to concede to that, then these two days of court-ordered settlement talks ought to go quite smoothly. But that seems unlikely, which means this battle will probably roll on for a good long time.

(Image The Joy of Tech)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik