Chief executive showdown in San Francisco

Today (Monday) will see the Chief executives of Apple and Korean giant Samsung come together for mediation, overseen by the court in San Francisco, in a bid to try and come to some kind of agreement over the massive, never-ending and frankly ridiculous patent war between the two companies.

Apple has repeatedly accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying Apple’s products such as the iPhone and the iPad. In response Samsung has hit back with a series of claims that Apple are infringing several patents owned by Samsung, the two are deadlocked in a string of patent cases across the globe.

According to patent expert Florian Mueller:

“This dispute isn’t ripe for settlement… Under the present circumstances, the two companies’ delegations should spend a couple of fun days in Yosemite Park or Napa Valley, rather than meet in court only to pretend they’re being constructive.”

The general consensus among onlookers seems to be that these talks have materialised only in a bid to show face, and that very little in the way of constructive progress will be made. This was further reiterated in a statement from head of Samsung’s Mobile Division JK Shin who claims “There is a still a big gap in the patent war with Apple”.

Apple still maintains that it needs to protect its intellectual property from the likes of Samsung, but there is still a long way to go. As Mueller put it; “Apple needs more time than it originally thought to reach a tipping point at which it has serious leverage over Samsung”. That statement, coupled with the fact that Apple relies on Samsung for some major internal parts in their own devices, suggests that it may be advantageous for Apple to settle outside of the court room, reducing the severity of any sanctions that might be imposed, and perhaps preserving the relationship between the two companies that is so vital to Apple’s success.


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