Proving once again that it’s the US market that really counts to smartphone makers, Apple and Samsung have decided to call a ceasefire to their patent war in courts outside US, but will continue to battle it out here. The companies issued a joint statement on Tuesday mentioning “Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States.”
In case you got it all wrong, the statement immediately clarified in the next paragraph, “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in US courts.” The cease in litigation includes courts in Australia, Europe, UK, and South Korea.
This means that it is not an end to the patent war between the two companies, but a ceasefire, as without licensing agreements and deals settling matters between them, nothing stops them from filing new lawsuits against each other over same or similar issues. Different countries have different rules about subsequent litigation and where the matter has not been decided or resolved on merits, res judicata may not apply.
It is possible that both the companies are trying to consolidate resources and focus on their court battles with each other in the US, which both, obviously, consider more vital than the rest of the world as far as market share and establishing patent rights is considered.
Earlier in their court battles Apple has had a pair of victories, with a huge jury verdict worth $120 million and gaining the edge on several counts over Samsung. However, motions before different forums including both the courts and the patent office has had varied results for the contestants.
In a latest development last week Apple dropped a cross appeal in California, originally brought seeking a permanent injunction against certain allegedly IP infringing products of Samsung. Apple had originally sued Samsung over copying the look and feel of their products, but the litigants quickly brought other issues against each other leading to the litigation becoming more complex.
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