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Apple and Samsung kick off settlement talks

Apple and Samsung have begun peace talks, hoped to end the bitter patent war between the two companies.

Apple and Samsung have kicked off settlement talks that could see the two companies ending the bitter patent war that's raged for the last year, the BBC reports.

A US judge has ordered the two firms to play nicely and try to make friends, following months of legal action that's seen Apple and Samsung aggressively suing each other. Apple accuses the Korean company of "slavishly" copying its gadgets, and in some cases has had Samsung kit banned from sale.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has mentioned before that he'd "prefer to settle" the company's war with Samsung, saying that he's "always hated litigation". Just days ago, however, Apple tried to get Samsung's Galaxy Tab banned in the US.

Cook will meet with Samsung's digital media boss Geesung Choi, as well as mobile division head honcho JK Shin, who was in London recently to show off the Samsung Galaxy S3. "There is still a big gap in the patent war with Apple, but we still have several negotiation options, including cross-licensing," Shin told Reuters.

If the two tech titans can find common ground, it could involve vast sums of money moving from one company to the other. Settlement could be a preferable option, however -- legal assaults are a costly business, and I don't think endless lawsuits are doing much for either company's reputation with shoppers.

Talks are set to last two days -- CNET UK will let you know the result of the Apple-Samsung tête-à-tête, so stay tuned for more news as it happens.

Would you like to see Apple and Samsung putting aside their differences? Or are legal dust-ups required to stop tech companies from copying each other? Smoke a peace pipe in the comments, or bang the drum of war on our Facebook wall.