If you’re not aware of the mega-case between Apple and Samsung, you’re not someone who follows legal tech issues closely. Count me as usually oblivious this area of law, although I’ve read some blog chatter about the case. In a nutshell, Apple sued Samsung in 2011 claiming patent infringement relating to smart phone technology and asked for $2.5 billion in damages. As you would expect, Samsung claims the patents are invalid and has counterclaimed for patent infringement as well.
Today there’s a small story in the NYTimes detailing the latest development. According to the article, the judge “sees risk here for both sides” and has ordered the companies’ CEOs to meet to discuss settlement. ”In many ways, mission accomplished. It’s time for peace.” She ordered the two to meet once before and thought it was worth a try again because the case is scheduled to go the jury sometime early next week.
I’ll be interested to see what happens as a result of this meeting because we lawyers hate hate hate being told to sit on the sidelines. We have to control as much as we can – particularly when it comes to information exchanges. Once the information exchange opens up (i.e. the lawyers were taken out of the equation), many cases have settled. For example, as a baby lawyer my firm had a huge case about coal mining royalties that had played out for several years. Trial was scheduled for several weeks, but after opening statements the opposing client asked our client if he would chat in the hall. In a matter of 5 minutes the parameters of a settlement were reached. I’m not saying that this will happen in the Apple case – were talking about technology critical to a $200 billion/year industry here – but stranger things have happened.