Face-off: Apple CEO to meet Samsung CEO in patent-related settlement talks

Apple VS SamsungWith patent disputes between tech companies flying hither and thither these days, lawyers working for the firms involved have certainly got their work cut out. Apple and Samsung are two such industry giants currently at each other’s throats, fighting it out over around 20 patent-related cases in 10 countries.

Things look like they could be about to take a different course, however, as Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung have agreed to sit around a table and try to come to a deal on one of these cases. Lawyers will, of course, be present.

According to a Reuters report, Cook and Gee-sung have agreed to meet at a so-called settlement conference in an attempt to resolve the issue surrounding the Cupertino company’s accusation that Samsung “slavishly” copied elements of the iPhone and iPad in the design of its Galaxy line of mobile handsets and tablets.

The talks will be led by a San Francisco-based magistrate judge at some point in the next 90 days. If they fail to reach a settlement, the dispute will go to trial late July.

A report on the patent specialist blog Foss Patents said that both tech companies had been ordered by US federal judge Lucy Koh to say whether they would be available to take part in an Alternative Dispute Resolution initiative. Apple and Samsung responded with the following statement:

“As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. 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.”

So there we have it — at some point in the next few months, the bigwigs from two of the world’s most successful mobile device companies will face each other across a table for talks which could lead to the settlement of one of the patent disputes in which they’re currently embroiled. Of course, there’s a fair chance too that it could end badly (a shouting match? name calling?) and instead turn up in court in July.