If you were thinking last week's patent settlement between Apple and Google's former Motorola division might lead to a similar détente between Apple and Samsung, you probably shouldn't get your hopes up.
Although the Korea Times reported on Monday that the two rivals were close to settling all of their litigation – and there is a stonking lot of it – new court papers filed late in the day reveal that not much has come of the recent settlement talks.
The seven-page filing includes statements from both companies, and neither has anything complimentary to say about the other.
According to Apple, John Quinn, Samsung's lead attorney, has never seriously considered the possibility of settling the two companies' various patent suits out of court – what in legal jargon is known as "alternative dispute resolution" (ADR).
"It's kind of hard to talk settlement with a jihadist," Quinn reportedly told Apple. Asked about Samsung's chances of success in the courts, Quinn is said to have compared Cupertino's lawsuits to an unpopular war, saying, "This is Apple's Vietnam, and people are sick of it."
In a separate letter submitted as Exhibit A to the filing, Apple's attorneys asked Samsung point blank whether Samsung was "prepared to engage in a realistic attempt to resolve this matter" – a question that Samsung's lawyers rebuffed in its own letter, saying it was "unclear to Samsung what further assurances Apple seeks."
"Samsung's refusal even to agree that it will not argue that Apple's participation in the ADR process can be used in future injunction or royalty proceedings makes clear that Samsung has no interest in entering into a meaningful ADR procedure or ceasing use of Apple's intellectual property," Cupertino's statement to the court reads. "Absent such assurance, it would be impossible for Apple to participate in ADR."
Yet Samsung's own statement to the court dismissed Apple's argument, saying the fruity firm's request for such assurance is an attempt to impose an improper condition on settlement talks, and that "if Apple were truly interested in global resolution of all cases between the parties, this condition precedent to ADR would be a non-issue."
To the issue of Quinn's sound bites, Samsung said they were irrelevant, but (helpfully) pointed out that "the statements quoted by Apple relate to the fact that Samsung does not believe portions of the juries’ verdicts will withstand appeal."
In fact, Quinn himself had earlier stated the chaebol's position more succinctly, saying, "It will go to zero. [Apple is] not going to see any of this money. This won't stand."
And thus, with both smartphone giants coming out of their most recent round of talks empty-handed, their long-running litigation seems poised to lumber ever onward – like it or not. ®