Apple and Samsung bosses meeting for patent settlement talks in San Francisco

The rumors were true! It looks like Apple and Samsung could at last settle their complicated legal dealings. This is official: a joint statement before the court has it that Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung Vice Chairman and CEO Gee-Sung Choi will met at a San Francisco court for settlement talks within the next 90 days.

What looked like a pipedream could become a reality, provided the two sides that are embroiled in complicated litigation agree to concessions for the greater good.

Here’s to the hoping we will soon put this meaningless patent mess behind us and move on to real news.

According to Florian Mueller of the FOSS Patents blog, the two chief executives and other Samsung representatives will face each other at a court-moderated discussion in the hope of resolving complicated patent issues between the two consumer electronics powerhouses:

Apple and Samsung, the number one and number two in the mobile devices industry, are embroiled in litigation against each other in nine countries (plus there are some purely defensive proceedings in a tenth country, Spain) while doing a large amount of business with each other (to the tune of $8 billion per year according to some estimates/rumors). The trial of the first one of their U.S. federal lawsuits is scheduled to start in late July. They also have evidentiary hearings on their mutual claims coming up at the ITC in June.

Within 90 days, they will make another effort to settle their dispute. They will meet in a San Francisco courthouse for settlement talks that will be overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero.

It’s a semi-voluntary effort, Mueller explains, because Judge Lucy Koh demanded that the parties comment on their availability for an alternative dispute resolution. Had any side refused to made its CEO available, the other would risk looking less co-operative.

The joint statement reads:

As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions.

I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell would like Apple and Samsung to settle their long-standing dispute.

It was recently reported that Tim Cook views Apple’s war on Android as “a necessary evil” rather than a thermonuclear option, as Jobs allegedly phrased it.

The article went on to note that top dogs at both Samsung and Apple “have communicated lately” about potential settlement options.

We also learned in March that Apple proposed to both Samsung and Motorola Mobility to settle patent woes in exchange for royalty payments of up to $15 per Android device.

Litigation benefits only lawyers who collect tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in fees, while the rest of us have to put up with our RSS feeds polluted with lawsuit news.

Google and Apple together have paid their lawyers more than $400 million over the last several years for patent fights around the world. Think about this for a moment. Four. Hundred. Million. Dollars.

Instead of fighting it out in the marketplace, devoting time, resources and energy to court battles diverts both companies’ focus from what matters – real innovation.