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Apple and Samsung to meet on 21-22 May for settlement talks

All this litigation madness could come to an end next month, when the heads of Apple and Samsung meet.

The date has been set. The CEOs of Apple and Samsung will meet on 21 and 22 May for settlement talks -- and will hopefully decide to stop suing each other once and for all.

The talks will take place in San Francisco and will be overseen by Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, who'll hopefully stop the squabbles and name calling. The start time has been set for 9.30am each day, Foss Patents reports.

The judge has given both parties some homework to be getting on with too. He's asked them to provide a settlement statement by 9 May that includes "a candid evaluation of the parties' likelihood of prevailing on the claims and defences." It seems a little optimistic to ask party to give a fair assessment of their cases' strengths and weaknesses, but maybe that's just a legal hoop they have to jump through.

In case you've been living under a rock for the last few months, Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in a number of legal spats all over the world. Apple accused the Korean company of "slavishly copying" its iPhone and iPad, and succeeded in having the Galaxy Tab banned in Germany. Samsung subsequently redesigned the tablet, and it went back on sale. The two have also been at it in Australia.

Steve Jobs vowed "thermonuclear war" against Android, labelling it a "stolen product". Tim Cook is more of a pacifist, however, saying he'd "highly prefer to settle versus battle" with Samsung. More recently, Samsung has gone on the offensive, labelling Apple customers 'sheep' in its ads. Though the ads are unrelated to the court cases, you can see there's no love lost between the two -- even though Samsung supplies parts for the iPhone.

The settlement talks are good news in my opinion. I can't see anyone benefitting from these legal wrangles except the lawyers, and while obviously it's vital that companies don't copy one another's products, these spats are getting a little silly. It's reached the point where barely a week goes by without a new legal tussle kicking off.

What do you make of it? Let me know your opinions in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.