Apple, Google: WE SURRENDER ... to each other in patent war truce

Does the settlement mean peace in our time?


Apple and Google have asked a US federal judge to dismiss all patent litigation between the two companies after four years of legal battles, we're told.

Documents submitted on Friday to a Washington federal appeals court requested an end to the patent war, the pair revealed. Piles of allegations of infringement were consolidated into a single action back in 2012, and Friday's filing makes it clear that that battle is now over.

"Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies," the companies said in a joint statement.

"Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license."

Thus ends one of the most rancorous chapters in the patent wars currently being fought in courts around the world. Apple took on Motorola in 2010 as part of Steve Jobs' "thermonuclear war" against Android, with the Apple boss vowing to "spend my last dying breath if I need to."

A year later and he was gone, but Tim Cook and Apple's army of lawyers carried on the fight. Google bought Motorola in 2012, adding some much needed legal protection to the struggling smartphone vendor, and the Chocolate Factory and Apple have been duking it out in the courts ever since. Now Lenovo is in the process of gobbling Motorola Mobility.

Judging from the carefully worded statement, this isn't the end of Apple's patent battles. It looks likely that Cupertino will carry on suing its competitors that use Google's operating system, unless some other deal can be struck with vendors such as Samsung.

That looks unlikely. Apple is currently beating Samsung like a red-headed stepchild in the courts, and secured a $120m judgment against the company earlier this month – although that is under appeal.

That sounds good, but the size of the settlement will barely cover Apple's legal bills in the case, and does nothing to stop Samsung from carrying on selling its Android-powered smartphones and fondleslabs.

It may be that Tim Cook, ever a man with an eye on the bottom line, has decided that going up against Google in court would be too expensive and show little financial benefit to Apple in the long term.

Those of you with seismology equipment may want to listen in California for the rumbling sound of Steve Jobs hitting 200rpm in his unmarked grave. ®


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