Seoul - Arch-rivals Samsung and Apple have decided to drop a series of bitter patent disputes pending in multiple courts outside the United States, the South Korean electronics giant said Wednesday.
The two companies have been locked in a prolonged war of legal attrition in close to a dozen countries, with each accusing the other of infringing on various patents related to their flagship smartphone and tablet products.
“Samsung and Apple have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” Samsung said in a statement.
“This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in US courts,” it added.
The patent row kicked off in earnest back in 2011, when Apple sued Samsung in a US court, and swiftly went trans-continental with cases being heard in South Korea, Germany, Japan, Italia, the Netherlands, England, France and Australia among others.
The fight will continue in US courts where Apple has accused its South Korean rival of massive and wilful copying of its designs and technology for smartphones and tablets, and has asked for a bar on US sales of Samsung smartphones and tablet computers.
Samsung has counter-claimed that Apple had used some of its technology without permission.
Despite the multiple cases, neither company has managed to land a knockout legal blow against the other, and a number of judges have urged the two giants to settle their differences out of court.
The two firms had been pushed into talks by a court order that saw Apple chief executive Tim Cook and his Samsung mobile communications counterpart JK Shin attend a full-day negotiation session in early February, along with their advisors and legal teams.
But despite several follow-ups, the mediator's settlement proposal was not taken up and the litigation continued.
In the latest development in May, a jury in federal court in California awarded Apple close to $120 million (R1.3 trillion) in damages in one of its patent suits with Samsung.
The award was only a fraction of the more than $2 billion Apple had sought at the outset of the trial, and the result was seen as partial victory for both sides. - Sapa-AFP