Apple and Samsung to kiss and make up? Not so fast

Even though the smartphone rivals are in talks to make peace over their patent squabbles, Apple and Samsung are still playing the blame game.

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CNET

A judge has told Apple and Samsung to resolve their patent issues, but bad blood between the two sides continues to spill.

In a court document released on Monday and spotted by The Verge, both Apple and Samsung were supposed to report on their progress regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, as ordered by Judge Lucy Koh. Instead, each accused the other of a lack of commitment to the peace process. In particular, Apple pointed to some cutting remarks from Samsung's lawyer following the jury trial that rendered a mixed verdict for both sides earlier this month.

Samsung attorney John Quinn reportedly snubbed prior Apple verdicts against Samsung by saying that "Apple hasn't collected a penny -- or succeeded in taking any products off the market." Quinn also was quoted as calling the legal trial "Apple's Vietnam, and people are sick of it." And in a recent interview with CNET cited by Apple, Quinn said: "It's kind of hard to talk settlement with a jihadist." That final dig was actually made in response to the late Steve Jobs' remark about declaring a "holy war" on Android.

Apple also lashed out at Samsung for refusing to agree that it would not use Apple's participation in ADR against it in any future injunction or royalty dealings. Without such a guarantee, Apple said it would be impossible to participate in ADR.

On its end, Samsung said that the comments made by its attorney have nothing to do with its desire to settle the patent issues. The company cited its past commitments to the ADR process, including time spent by senior executives traveling to San Francisco and Los Angeles to meet with Apple. Samsung also said that Apple's request for a guarantee about ADR participation not affecting future injunction or royalty dealings was "improper" and that it's open to talking settlement without imposing any of its own conditions.

Both Apple and Samsung have recently "resumed working-level discussions" with the key topic being how to dismiss all lawsuits, the Korea Times reported on Monday, citing information from people directly involved with the matter.

The two companies previously tried to reach an out-of-court settlement prior to the most recent case. But even with help from a mediator, the two couldn't find a way to agree.

So does a patent truce between the two remain a long shot?

Though Apple and Samsung continue to point fingers at each other, Foss Patents' Florian Mueller still believes a settlement is not just possible but "more likely than ever." In a column posted on Tuesday, Mueller said he doesn't expect the ongoing litigation to last beyond the summer and posed the question: "Isn't it about time that Apple looked for an exit strategy from a war it apparently can't win?"

Last week, Apple finally settled its longstanding patent feuds with Google's Motorola, with both sides agreeing to dismiss all existing lawsuits. It's ultimately in the best interest of Apple and Samsung to do likewise. But with the back-and-forth jibes and accusations between the two, a permanent truce isn't likely to come easy.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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