Apple and Samsung drop all patent lawsuits outside the US

In a totally unexpected move, Apple and Samsung, who've fought patent wars around the globe, agreed to drop all their cases outside of the US.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

Apple and Samsung agreed on Tuesday to drop their patent lawsuits outside the US. But their patent war isn't over yet. The two technology giants will continue to battle on within the US courts system.

The joint statement reads:

"Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States. This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in US courts."

Before this the two companies had warred in patent courts in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy.

For example in Australia, some products, such as the Samsung Galaxy 10.1, were blocked from sale for a period of time. During which, Samsung sought to make some of Apple's patents in Australia invalid on grounds of legal technicality. Similar legal maneuvers and counter-maneuvers happened around the globe.

Bloomberg speculated that Apple and Samsung may be nearing a conclusion in their heated worldwide patent fight. The root cause of their battles started with Apple accusing Samsung of copying its iPhone designs. Samsung countered, claiming that Apple was, "using pieces of its wireless-transmission technology without permission."

Neither have landed a knockout blow. Judges have often encouraged the two biggest smartphone global companies to reach a settlement rather than continue their courtroom battles.

The major battles have been fought in Apple's back yard in the US District Court in San Jose, California. Apple won numerous times in the court, but its victories have amounted to little. And, Samsung, of course, has appealed these victories.

In Walter Isaacson's biography of the late Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder said: "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

It appears, however, that incumbent Apple chief executive Tim Cook has far less interest in fighting an apparently-religious war over smartphones.

With patent trolls attacking both companies, perhaps Apple and Samsung are finally realizing that making patent peace rather than war would serve both companies better.

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