In a joint email sent to the press, Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all patent lawsuits against each other in all countries except the US, without any settlement, cross-license agreement or any other consideration. The US court system will be the sole arbiter of the numerous patent disputes the two companies have brought against each other, and comes on the heels of a series of moves to de-escalate the standoffs between them. Samsung and Apple agreed to drop appeals of an ITC case in June.
Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. are starting to wind down their global patent battle. The companies said in a joint statement today that they have agreed to drop all suits against each other in countries outside the U.S. Claims are being abandoned in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy. The agreement shows Apple and Samsung may be nearing a conclusion to what has been a drawn-out and occasionally nasty worldwide patent fight, which has sprouted alongside the booming market for touch-screen smartphones. Apple has accused Samsung of copying its iPhone designs, while Samsung has countered that Apple is using pieces of its wireless-transmission technology without permission. Neither side won an overarching decision harming the other’s sales, and judges repeatedly urged the companies to settle rather than play out their dispute in court. There had already been signs of de-escalation prior to today’s announcement. Apple and Samsung agreed in June to drop their appeals of a patent-infringement case at the U.S. International Trade Commission that resulted in an import ban on some older Samsung phones. Apple and Google Inc., which makes the Android mobile operating system that Samsung uses in many of its handsets, also announced a deal in May to drop lawsuits against one another related to Motorola Mobility.