The chief executives of Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltdcame face to face on Monday in court-directed mediation in theUnited States over a dispute in which the iPhone maker claims theSouth Korean company has “slavishly” copied some of its products. Apple’s Tim Cook and Samsung’s Choi Gee-sung have been instructedby a federal judge to appear for mediation in San Francisco to helpresolve the bitter patent litigation between the two firms. The US case, the most closely watched in a global patent warbetween the two companies involving some 20 cases in 10 countries,is set for trial at the end of July in San Jose, California. Eachcompany denies the other’s allegations of patent infringement. Perkins EST
Patent expert Florian Mueller cautioned against any expectationsthat mediation, which is being increasingly used to try to resolveUS civil disputes, would lead to a significant breakthrough in thecase. “This dispute isn’t ripe for settlement,” he said. “Under thepresent circumstances, the two companies’ delegations should spenda couple of fun days in Yosemite Park or Napa Valley, rather thanmeet in court only to pretend they’re being constructive.” Apple, the maker of hit products such as the iPod, iPad and iPhone,has a complex relationship with Samsung, a conglomerate that makescomputer chips, gadgets including its Galaxy range of smartphones,and televisions. While Samsung’s smartphones and tablets run on Google’s Androidoperating system and compete with Apple’s products, Samsung is alsoa key components supplier to Apple. The US company, which investors value at close to $600 billion, hasaccused Samsung of “slavishly” copying the iPhone and iPad throughproducts that run on Android. Hino Diagnostic Manufacturer
Samsung, which has a stock marketvalue of about $161 billion, has counter-sued with claims accusingApple of infringing its patents. A Samsung representative declined to comment, while Applespokeswoman Kristin Huguet reiterated a prior statement that Appleneeds to protect its intellectual property against “blatantcopying”. Both companies have a lot at stake in the case. Their share priceshit record highs this year as they reported soaring profits, partlyfueled by their dominant position in the smartphone sector. Samsung sold 44.5 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2012,giving it a 30.6 percent share of the global high-end market.Apple’s sales of 35.1 million iPhones gave it a 24.1 percent share. Transponder Chip Programmer
‘Big gap’ On Sunday in Seoul, the head of Samsung’s mobile division said theSouth Korean company wanted to resolve differences with Apple. “There is still a big gap in the patent war with Apple,” JK Shinsaid, before departing for the United States for the mediationtalks. “But we still have several negotiation options.” The latest mediation session on Monday and Tuesday will be overseenby US Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero. He declined to comment. Samsung argues its technologies are worth 402,000 won ($350), or 60percent of the iPhone retail price of 671,000 won, on the basisthat 3G is the only function differentiating the phone from Apple’sdigital music player iPod Touch.
In July 2010, just a month after Samsung introduced its firstGalaxy product, Apple expressed its concerns to Samsung over itssmartphone design and interface and demanded changes, according toApple lawyers. Samsung didn’t reflect those issues and continued to releaseproducts that copied Apple’s innovation, they said. “Apple needs more time than it originally thought to reach atipping point at which it has serious leverage over Samsung,” saidMueller.