Apple and Samsung could settle patent disputes out of court by the summer

Apple and its frenemy Samsung have been embroiled in a complex web of lawsuits spanning continents but now a resolution to the long standing patent dispute that has fascinated watchers around the globe could be within reach as the two technology giants are reportedly engaged in settlement talks, according to a Korean newspaper.

The unexpected development arrives hot on the heels of a surprising Reuters report last week confirming that Apple and Google put an end to a dispute with Motorola Mobility which Google inherited after snapping up Motorola 2011.

That agreement even has the two sides banding together on a patent reform, though it excludes cross-licensing of their respective mobile patent portfolio and Apple’s lawsuits with other Android makers like Samsung…

The Korea Times broke the news Monday.

The article cites people directly involved with the matter as confirming that Samsung Electronics and Apple “have recently agreed to begin talks to settle patent disputes out of court”, adding:

Samsung has recently resumed working-level discussions with Apple and the key issue is how to dismiss all lawsuits,” they said, declining to be named.

“Some more time will be needed to fix terms of details such as royalty payments in return for using patents owned by each before reaching a full agreement.”

Patent blogger Florian Müeller explains that Apple lacks a compelling exit strategy:

Apple doesn’t have an endgame strategy. Its agreement with Google shows that its management is looking for a face-saving exit strategy from Steve Jobs’ thermonuclear ambitions that were based on a totally unrealistic assessment of the strength of Apple’s patent portfolio.

He also said that “things should come to an end” during the summer.

As you know, Samsung was found guilty of copying patented iPhone technology and design in two major lawsuits in California, bringing the total amount of damages Samsung owes to Apple to about $1 billion.

Are you surprised hearing about the Apple-Samsung settlement talks?

Is this Apple’s face-saving exit strategy from Steve Jobs’s thermonuclear war on Android. And should the company pursue its current Android litigation strategy, do you think?