Is peace on the horizon for smartphone rivals?

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Date: Tuesday, May 20th, 2014, 08:20
Category: Apple, Business, Google, Legal, News, Opinion, Patents, Samsung

gavel_transI’m not holding my breath that the Apple vs. Samsung patent war will end any time soon, but perhaps there is hope that one day in the future, we won’t have to read any more posts or articles about the never-ending ruling appeals filed by Apple or Samsung, or at least not as many. As of last Friday, Apple and Google have agreed to drop all current patent infringement lawsuits between them and move on with their lives.

TIME reveals some of the details regarding the agreement in a joint statement sent by Apple and Google to them last week;

“Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies,” the companies said in a joint statement emailed to TIME. “Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform.” The companies said their deal didn’t include an agreement to license technology to each other, which would be virtually unthinkable because Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iOS compete as the top two mobile operating systems in the world.

Meanwhile, in the ongoing battle with Samsung, Apple has been awarded $119 million from Samsung for infringing several Apple patents related to smartphones and tablet PCs, and Samsung was also ordered to pay Apple $930 million in an earlier case which Samsung is appealing.

Intellectual property lawyer Julie Samuels, who served as a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said “It’s a huge relief to see these companies finally recognize that competing in the courtroom doesn’t make sense.”.  We probably won’t see such a mature looking gesture from the Apple-Samsung knock-down drag-out court battles, as related by Macworld;

“The judge overseeing the Apple v. Samsung case, Judge Lucy Koh, has asked the companies to settle several times and earlier this year ordered the chief executives of each company to sit down and attempt to hammer out a deal. That ended in failure.”

It’s well-known how voraciously Steve Jobs defended the technology behind the iPhone, but could this be a sign that under Tim Cook, cooler heads might prevail? I get that companies have to protect their tech and designs from being blatantly copied and preserving what it is that makes their product popular, but wouldn’t that money and energy be better spent on new and ‘unique’ products rather than rehashing the same arguements? I don’t understand why companies are repeatedly allowed to appeal decisions. You pled your case, you lost, go home. Why the court system allows companies to go on whining about it ad infinitum is beyond me. Maybe if I was a corporate lawyer being paid to do it, I wouldn’t mind so much.

What do you think? Have these perpetual patent litigations gone on too long? Does someone need to smack Apple and Samsung on the wrist with a ruler? Is this burying of the hatchet between Apple and Google a sign of things to come, and will it benefit either company’s product lines? Wow, so many questions. Chime in and let us know what you think in the comments or on the Facebook page.

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