Apple and Samsung Call Off Their Patent Fights Outside the U.S.

Lawyers are shifting uncomfortably in their seats as Apple and Samsung finally come to a truce over international patent lawsuits. Apple reached a similar agreement with Google in early 2014. 

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Apple and Samsung have finally found something they can agree on: they are sick and tired of paying their lawyers gigantic piles of money to fight the neverending patent lawsuits the tech giants bring against one another. Instead, they have decided to dismiss all patent lawsuits outside of the United States. This affects pending cases in eight nations. Apple and Google reached a similar agreement earlier this year.

However, this truce does not affect the mega-cases which have been brought in the States. "Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States," the companies said in a joint statement to the Wall Street Journal, "This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts."

The two companies have a long history of dragging one another to court. In 2011, Apple sued Samsung for copying parts of the iPhone. Then, Samsung sued Apple for patent infringement in a number of countries, including South Korea, Japan, France and the U.K. Apple then filed a counter lawsuit for patent infringement. All of those international claims will now go away. Additionally, Samsung has agreed to no file injunctions in Europe for the next five years over "key patents."

While this is certainly progress, a $1 billion lawsuit remains on the line in the U.S. A District Court found that Samsung had copied iPhone features under two jury verdicts. This resulted in damages of $1 billion to Apple, but Samsung plans to appeal this. Thus far, Apple has not seen a penny in damages from Samsung, either from this or from another lawsuit, but they did deal with "embarrassing details" coming out during trial.

Michael Carrier, a patent-law expert and law professor at Rutgers University told the Wall Street Journal, "The U.S. litigation is the most important. There is the most at stake. Apple in particular is hesitant to let it go. I think Apple is coming to the realization step by step that this litigation is not worth it."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.