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Judge tells Apple and HTC to start talking settlement

The order comes after two key HTC smartphones are stopped at the border as a result of the companies' ongoing dispute.

The One X can't get into the U.S. because of the ongoing dispute between Apple and HTC. Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple and HTC need to make up.

At least, that's according to the U.S. District Court of Delaware, which ordered the two companies to discuss a potential settlement. The talks would be moderated by Judge Sherry Fallon, Foss Patents reported today.

The order comes after two key HTC smartphones, the Evo 4G LTE and the One X, were barred from coming into the U.S. as a result of the companies' ongoing dispute. The embargo was related to a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling from last year over a data tapping patent, which HTC was supposed to have removed at this point.

Courts have increasingly pushed companies to opt for the settlement talk route, rather than drag out an exhaustive legal battle over patents. Apple and HTC's legal fight has been among the longest; HTC was the first Android partner that Apple sued.

According to the order, Apple and HTC must send parties with the authority to act on behalf of their respective companies, although it's unclear who will attend the talks, according to Foss Patents.

While the companies are expected to talk in good faith, it's unlikely a settlement will be reached, Foss Patents' Florian Mueller said. While the ITC case has been decided, there are several outstanding lawsuits still going through multiple courts around the world.

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