The CEOs of Apple (AAPL) and Samsung will try one more time to settle their global patent feud before clashing in another federal court trial in March, according to court papers the two tech titans filed late Wednesday.
Prompted by the entreaties of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh that they settle, Apple and Samsung have agreed upon an undisclosed mediator to conduct the settlement talks by Feb. 19. The filing indicates that Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwan will participate, along with three or four in-house lawyers from the rival companies.
The settlement talks will take place as Apple and Samsung barrel toward a second trial that involves Apple's claims that the South Korean tech power copied technology from the newer lines of iPhones and iPads, such as the iPhone 5, in Samsung's increasingly popular smartphones and tablets, including the Galaxy brand. The second trial is scheduled to begin March 31.
Apple won the first trial, securing more than $930 million in damages after a jury in August 2012 concluded Samsung had violated the Cupertino company's patent and trademark rights in older versions of smartphones and tablets. As a result of a favorable federal appeals court ruling late last year, Apple is poised to obtain a permanent injunction against nearly two dozen of those Samsung products, although few are left on the market in the United States.
Koh has repeatedly urged the two companies to settle their differences, but to no avail. The two CEOs tried before the first trial but failed to reach agreement. Most patent cases, particularly between such high-powered companies, tend to settle, but that has not been the case with the world's leading smartphone and tablet competitors.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.