U.S. Judge Forces Apple, Samsung Into Settlement Talks

Is the war on Android about to come to an epic conclusion? It's possible. On Tuesday U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who has been presiding over the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits in the Northern District of California, referred Apple and Samsung to a San Francisco-based magistrate judge after Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung agreed to participate in settlement talks.

Judge Koh, seemingly annoyed with the bickering between the two parties, ordered both companies to comment on their availability for an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) effort. In this situation, neither party is required to attend the negotiations. However if one agrees to send a CEO and the other doesn't, the latter party appears to be "less than constructive."

"As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator," a Monday court filing reads. "At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions."

As indicated, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero will reside over the talks. Both companies' general councils will also participate in the talks. However, there's also a 90-day deadline in place, so both parties can't take another year to plot a counter-attack.

Over the past year, Apple and Samsung have been fighting over hardware and software patents relating to smartphone and tablet technology, sparked by the release of Samsung's original Android-base Galaxy Tab tablet. In a lawsuit filed back in April 2011, Apple claimed that the entire Galaxy line "slavishly" copies the iPhone and iPad.

Samsung naturally retaliated with a counter-suit, and at one point even tried to say that 2001: A Space Odyssey director Stanley Kubrick actually designed the first tablet. Overall, the "war on android" has cost millions upon millions of dollars, and has spread across 20 cases and ten countries, the first of which will reside in Judge Koh's courtroom this July. Hearings on their claims with the ITC are set for June.

Last last month there were reports that Apple might be giving up on its "thermonuclear war" against Android, a war which the late Steve Jobs openly declared just before his death in October 2011. People close to the anti-Android crusade claimed that top-level executives at both Apple and Samsung had communicated a desire to negotiate settlement options. They said Cook doesn't have the same vengeful passion to lay waste to all Apple foes.

"You f–king ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. Grand theft," Steve Jobs reportedly told his authorized biographer, Walter Isaacson, adding that he would "spend my last dying breath" and "every [Apple] penny to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this."

Jobs said that the litigation with component supplier Samsung was meant to communicate an unmistakable message to Google. But it looks as if the war is coming to an end with everyone still standing on both sides, and no mutant-creating nuclear fallout.

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  • fuzznarf
    Funny how its not ripping anyone off when he does it, but if someone else's design is anything near Apple, it is grand theft. Steve Jobs was a hypocrite and a toolbag...
    28
  • tical2399
    @fuzznarf.

    Self serving people only acknowledge what they want to. They'll always fine a way to throw in a "well thats different" when you point out they do the same things they are getting mat at other for doing.
    20
  • willard
    Since Steve Jobs died and stopped using Apple's lawyers to protect his ego the following has happened:

    1. Jobs' policy, instated the day he took over as CEO and lasting until the day of his death, of no charitable donations has been reversed. Tim Cook has already donated 100M of Apple's money to help build a children's hospital.

    2. Jobs' policy of laying claim to overly broad design ideas (you can't patent minimalism people, the idea has been around for centuries) and waging all out legal war is coming to an end.

    3. Jobs' policy of ignoring the labor conditions* in the factories which make the products they sell (with obscene profit margins) has ended, and factory conditions are set to improve dramatically in the short term.

    I doubt the history books are going to remember Jobs kindly. He was a 21st century robber baron, nothing more. Having made nice products doesn't change the fact that he was scum and was fine with building his company on the backs of thousands of exploited Chinese factory workers, much like the railroad magnates of the 19th century did.

    I honestly don't see how anyone could honestly like the man given his track record of truly awful behavior. Even his official biographer described him as a man who would "do anything to get his way."

    *Jobs claimed Apple performed audits of the factories regularly, though the first time a third party audited they found 50 serious violations in about a week. What exactly did Jobs' audits do? Either the audits were so cursory as to be totally ineffective, a move to placate consumers without actually intending to affect change. Or they never happened at all, a move to placate consumers without actually intending to affect change. Or Jobs consistently ignored the conditions exposed in the audits, a move to placate consumers without actually intending to affect change.

    My guess is they either didn't happen or Jobs simply ignored the results. It would be totally consistent with his policy of "do whatever I please whenever I please," like how he loved to park in handicapped spots (seriously, he was notorious for it even before he had cancer).
    17
  • Other Comments
  • fuzznarf
    Funny how its not ripping anyone off when he does it, but if someone else's design is anything near Apple, it is grand theft. Steve Jobs was a hypocrite and a toolbag...
    28
  • tical2399
    @fuzznarf.

    Self serving people only acknowledge what they want to. They'll always fine a way to throw in a "well thats different" when you point out they do the same things they are getting mat at other for doing.
    20
  • zzz_b
    Finally a wise decision!
    8