Battle of the smartphones: Apple and Samsung CEOs ordered to attend mediation session

9 Jan 2014

In a continuing battle over smartphone patents, the CEOs of Apple and Samsung, Tim Cook and Oh-Hyun Kwon respectively, are to attend a mediation session to be held before 19 February.

Apple has so far been awarded close to US$1bn in damages by a Californian court over allegations that Samsung infringed its patents.

The patents war in recent years grew to a global scale, with attempts by both companies to block shipments and sales of products in Asia, Europe and North America.

At the heart of the matter are features on both devices that are the mirror image of one another, from the way icons are presented to how users navigate the devices.

According to a court filing, Apple and Samsung’s CEOs will attend a mediation that will be held on or before 19 February, accompanied by their in-house lawyers only.

According to Reuters, Apple is understood to have paid its external legal advisers up to US$60m to wage a patent war against Samsung.

Both Samsung and Apple have gone to court twice in the US, with Apple being awarded damages of up to US$1bn in the first instance and the fine being reduced in a subsequent instance.

Both companies are due to return to a North Californian district courtroom in March.

There is a concern in the tech industry that large-scale patent disputes will ultimately harm innovation, stymieing the efforts of companies and inventors who don’t have deep financial pockets to defend themselves against opportunistic or monopolistic patent litigation.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years