It could be that an end is in sight to the ongoing ugly legal fight between Apple and Samsung, a messy high profile battle that is part of the a wider ‘patent wars’ in the tech industry. The tech world has resembled something like pub brawl at kicking out time of late, with patent rights being bought and sold as weapons for the courtrooms. The Apple vs Samsung match up even saw Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Tab banned for a while in Europe after accusations of similarities with the iPad, and influenced a hardware re-design to the American version of the Samsung Galaxy S2.
Now Samsung and Apple representatives have been ordered to the office of Judge Joseph C Spero, who will no doubt to sit them down and give them a jolly good piece of his mind. Both Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO will be attending, probably both looking at the floor, shuffling their feet nervously.
Twitter have even waved a white flag, calling for a patent truce and telling everyone to ‘just get along’. The Innovators Patent Agreement is a call for a non aggression pact, that would effectively mean that patents could only be invoked legally for defensive purposes.
But why the beef? Despite the bitter slug fest in the courts, Apple and Samsung do a remarkable amount of business together. Samsung not only provide the New Ipad’s high resolution ‘Retina Display’ but also the custom A4 and A5 microprocessors in the iPhone 4S and iPad. Most see this as being more to do with Steve Job’s vow to destroy Google’s Android mobile operating system.
Google and Apple used to be quite pally, but Google’s entry into the mobile market was seen as an arch betrayal by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who had simultaneously sat on the Apple board of directors as Android was being developed in secret. Jobs afterwards vowed he was ‘willing to go thermonuclear war’ in order to sink Android, and his company since targeted high profile Android devices, such as Samsung’s also exceptionally popular handsets and tablets.
The court meeting, to be held within the next 90 days, should give us an idea about how much this vendetta lives on in the Post-Jobs Apple organisation, and hopefully draw to a close a messy chapter in the patent wars.