Mediation fails to bridge Apple and Samsung's patent divide

A full day of talks attended by the CEOs of both companies didn't bring agreement that would stop a March jury trial

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

The top executives of Apple and Samsung have failed to reach an agreement that would end an ongoing fight over smartphone and tablet patents, lawyers for the two companies said late Friday.

Tim Cook , JK Shin and a number of other top-level officials at both companies met for a full day of mediation during the first week of February in an attempt to settle their differences.

The meeting had been ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which has already seen two jury trials as part of a lawsuit filed in 2011. A third jury trial for a second case filed in 2012 is due to begin on March 31 and the mediation was ordered in the hope - however slim - that some agreement might be found.

It wasn't, although the two parties remained engaged with the mediator after the day-long session.

"Since that session, one or more of the ... representatives have spoken with the mediator numerous times in order to progress the settlement efforts," the lawyers said in a report to the court.

"For example, Apple representatives held telephonic conference calls with the mediator more than six times after the mediation. Samsung representatives held telephonic conference calls and other communications with the mediator more than four times after the mediation."

But still to no avail. However, both sides appear open to the possibility of more mediation.

"Parties remain willing to work through the mediator jointly selected by the parties," the said in the report.

To-date, the California juries have largely upheld Apple's claims of infringement on patents related to design and functionality on phones and tablets and have told Samsung it must pay awards totalling US$929 million.

The upcoming March trial covers similar issues but concerns different Samsung handsets including the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablets.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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