The CEOs of Apple and Samsung, both involved in patent disputes, were ordered by a judge of the federal court of San Francisco to participate in a negotiation session which will be supervised by the court over two days. Courts in the US believe that parties disputing over civil issues should give mediation a chance and therefore, federal courts in Northern California have been suggesting alternative forms of dispute resolution.
Parties involved in intellectual property cases are also being pushed into mediation as in the recent case of Apple and HTC. Courts have also taken to calling in CEOs of disputing companies to work things out with their opponents in the presence of their individual teams of lawyers. To pacify arguments that may build up during the process, decision makers are appointed.
Apple and Samsung are involved in a fierce competition in the worldwide smartphone market. While Samsung does compete with Apple using products that run on Google’s Android, it also provides key components to Apple. They are also involved in disputes with Apple accusing Samsung of blatantly copying its products and Samsung accusing Apple of infringing upon its patents. Both the companies deny the allegations put forward by the other. The trial between the two companies will begin later in July. The results could fetch the winning side sizeable advantages.
The head of the mobile division at Samsung, JK Shin, stated that his company was willing to negotiate with Apple over issues of cross-licensing in order to sort out their problems through mediation talks. Though a similar mediation session has been conducted between the two companies in the past, Apple continues to stress on the fact that they will not put up with another company copying their products. The current mediation session will be handled by Joseph Spero, a US magistrate. Thought ideally both parties should talk face to face, if handling both of them gets difficult and things heat up, they will be asked to sit separately, and the judge will have to shuttle between both the parties to attempt a settlement.
Mediation sessions do not always result in settlements. Though the CEOs of Oracle and Google went in for mediation over their intellectual property case last year, they failed to arrive at any settlement and the trial between them continues to go on.