Settlement talks between the two smartphone super-giants, Samsung and Apple, will go ahead on May 21--22 in San Francisco, in the hope the two can resolve an ongoing patent dispute.
Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero will moderate the talks as an impartial third-party.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over a number of Apple vs. Samsung cases, ordered the two to engage in settlement talks earlier in April. Representatives from both companies, including Apple's Tim Cook and Samsung's Gee-Sung Choi, are expected to meet to discuss ending litigation.
Florian Mueller, author of FOSS Patents, broke the news, noting chief lawyers on each side will also be present. The talks and mediation process will be held in the strictest of confidence.
The two companies' acrimonious battle over patents reached its one-year anniversary this month totalling more than 50 lawsuits in 10 different countries, reports CNET's Charles Cooper.
Cook's recent statement sent a strong signal that Apple could be ready to end the patent war, started by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
During the company's first-quarter earnings call, Cook said: "I would highly prefer to settle than to battle. But it's important that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff."
Samsung will likely want to settle after it was hit the most in the courts' decisions. Though it has suffered through product bans and sales injunctions, the company continues to generate huge profits. During its fourth-quarter earnings, the company noted how its Galaxy products had become a "household name" thanks to Apple's attempts to block the smartphone and tablet line-up.
Apple launched its ground assault on Samsung in April 2011 when the company filed a patent infringement case against Samsung, claiming its tablets were in breach of its iPad design. The Korea-based smartphone giant fired back with its own set of complaints, saying that Apple infringed its hardware and networking patents.
Since then, both companies have seen their products banned from sale in various regions, though Apple was lucky to secure the overturning of a sales ban within hours of the court's decision. Samsung has had less luck, however, but reclaimed most of its lost sales in Australia in the run-up to Christmas after it secured the lifting of a ban against its tablet.
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- CNET: Apple v. Samsung: 50 suits, 10 countries -- and counting