Apple, Google in secret patent settlement talks?

Apple, Google in secret patent settlement talks?

Summary: Behind the scenes, Google and Apple CEOs Larry Page and Tim Cook have been in talks over the two companies' patent disputes.

TOPICS: Apple, Google

Behind the scenes, Google and Apple CEOs Larry Page and Tim Cook have been in talks over the two companies' patent disputes, according to reports.

The two chief executives are reported to have spoken about a wide range of intellectual property issues. Patent use and infringement is likely to be high on the agenda, against Apple's recent victory over Samsung, who uses Google's Android OS in their mobile devices.

First reported by Reuters, sister site CNET later confirmed that at least one conversation has occurred between the two chief executives. Cook and Page talked before a verdict was reached in the high-profile Apple v. Samsung case, and according to sources, will talk again in a few weeks -- although no firm date has been set.

Reuters also reports that ongoing discussions are taking place between lower-level officials of both firms.

A jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages last week, and there is the possible of sales bans on particular Samsung products -- but in the same breath, a Japanese court found Apple guilty of infringing several Samsung patents. Google, however, distanced itself from Samsung's defeat; immediately declaring that most of the disputed patents "don't relate to the core Android operating system."

Competition is increasing the stakes between the two rival firms as the 'PC era' dwindles and mobile devices take the helm. Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs believed Google's Android OS was a "stolen product" which has become embroiled in a number of patent disputes across the globe, but it has become Apple's iOS rival and remains installed on hardware from vendors including Samsung.

Tim Cook has been CEO of Apple for roughly a year, whereas Larry Page stepped in at Google a scant few months beforehand, taking over from Eric Schmidt.

Topics: Apple, Google

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  • Umm

    They both have something to lose and Apple has to realize that they cannot win in some countries so they might as well get a small slice of that pie.
  • So secret

    It must be so "secret" that every tech page and Reuters mentions about that...
  • Possibility


    'and there is the possible of sales bans on particular Samsung products'

    should read:

    'and there is the possibility of sales bans on particular Samsung products'.


    'but in the same breath, a Japanese court found Apple guilty of infringing several Samsung patents'

    The article you linked to makes no mention of Apple being found guilty. It only indicates that Samsung was found innocent of patent infringement.
  • Comprise too soon?

    Why should Apple and Google come to an agreement until the appeals and legal struggles are over and the fate of this one court decision is known with certainty. What if the decision is overturned? Wouldn't that change Google's feelings about the possible damage Apple could do to them, and make them less likely to cave into to Apple's threats?
    • It would be done to save money

      At this point, though, I think Google needs to make a serious case to an appeals court that software patents are not authorized by any statute and are therefore invalid (the Federal Circuit has ruled that they are, but the Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue). That doesn't help Samsung on the trade dress issue, but if that's the biggest weapon Apple has, then it can be worked around fairly easily.
      John L. Ries
    • Apple, The Customer

      Apple is a major customer of Google's. No, not as an advertiser, but as a services client. It is in the interests of both companies to back away from patent combat.
      • Services client? How so?

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
    • Cart before the horse

      No negotiations ever after litigation. You have a judgement. You enforce it. Agreements take place before litigation they should preclude litigation if they mean anything.
  • And

    None of you seem to be aware of the Motorola recent case against Apple with 7 non FRAND patents asking for the prohibition of importing Apple products.

    Motorola has so many patents to throw against Apple that some might stick and make life misserable for Apple. How? it is easy, Motorola might not sell one smartphone and Google the ad company will be making money anyway. An injuction against Apple products, and being Apple a hardware company they would be toast for just one month not selling products in the USA and their stock price will plunge.
    • Would be a great time to buy Apple;)

      Apples long history shows dramatic come backs after a stumble.

      Still I have my doubts about the effectiveness of the moto purchase for google. For instance out of all those patents they could only come up with 7? How many or any will stand is up in the air as well.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • ... And then there was one.

        I believe that the courts have thrown our six of the seven Motorola patents and only one patent is still at issue between Moto and Apple. And, that case hasn't been tried yet.
        • Any links

          to support?
  • Let's be boring

    The case in Japan provides a good example of the sort of meaningless hoo-hah that's passing for wisdom on these cases. What happened in Japan is that a judge ruled that Samsung did not violate a patent that Apple has in Japan that concerns synching music and video.

    Notice that the Japanese patent is not similar in any way to any of the patents that were the subject of the suit just decided in California. So here comes a securities analyst to say. "This will likely turn the tide in favor of Samsung. Samsung had this win in a country that’s strong at intellectual property. The mood is turning positive for Samsung.”

    No. There is no "mood." There is no "tide." These cases involve different patents being litigated according to different procedures under different laws. And THAT is why Cook and Page probably want to talk. No one, anywhere, can predict with any degree of confidence what is going to happen next in these lawsuits. Does anyone doubt that Samsung's lawyers were telling Samsung's CEO, "No need to settle, we'll win." It's impossible to run a business under these conditions. How does any CEO get up in front of the securities analysts and say, "We're looking for good gains next quarter with EPS up in the 3 to 5 per cent range" when one judge in Europe could reduce (or raise) sales by 10 or 15 per cent, and no one anywhere can even give you reliable odds on that happening?

    People are speculating that Apple is going to file more of these things. Let's see if it really happens. Cook is talking with the head of Samsung, too. He's not Steve Jobs, he may not have the same eagerness to inject excitement and random events into his life.
    Robert Hahn
    • @the US law connoisseur

      They could also be discussing some of the newer Google-Moto's claims that Apple has been willingly infringing on 7 patents, no FRAND excuse this time.

      Since the Earth is round (spherical) and not a "cuboid with rounded corners" as some have suggested, things might turn around. Perhaps, we'll learn about some 9 jurors that would rather not only "give slap on the wrist" but punish this time Apple with a "mount of evidence" of a little different sort?
      • Fer sure

        Oh, absolutely. The revenge fantasies of Apple haters and Microsoft fanboys are high on the priority list of judges, jurors, and even legislators from sea to shining sea. Don't ya think?
        Robert Hahn
        • In my book now

          Apple=Microsoft. Oracle bears a lot of similarities with these bastards. Apple has surpassed the other two and holds the 1st place in the top 3 of most abominable companies, in my opinion.
          Guess what, this last euphoria of Apple's was wholeheartedly shared by Microsoft. Despite the fact that MS does business with Samsung, Redmond didn't even try to cover their scoundrelly giggles, saying something "We're looking gooooood!"
          Imagining Google jeering its partner or anyone else is a pretty hard exercise, the worst thing Google is capable of is to not care.