SAN JOSE -- Apple and Samsung top executives have been unable to settle their global patent feud, although they told a federal judge late Friday that they will continue to seek a pact that might avoid another San Jose federal court trial looming in March.
In a brief court document, lawyers for the rival tech giants indicated that a session with a mediator in early February that included Apple CEO Tim Cook and JK Shin, Samsung's CEO of mobile communications, failed to reach an agreement. Koh had asked the companies to update her by Friday on the status of settlement talks, which she has encouraged to avert another trial, scheduled to begin March 31 with jury selection.
Apple and Samsung, in the court document, revealed that executives with the two companies have had ongoing discussions with the undisclosed mediator -- and that they would continue to do so. But there was no indication that the smartphone wars between the two companies are close to a resolution.
Apple already has scored a major victory in its patent case against Samsung, securing nearly $1 billion in damages as a result of an August 2012 jury verdict that found the South Korean company violated the patent and trademark rights of iPhone and iPad technology.
That verdict involved older versions of smartphones and tablets that for the most part are no longer on the U.S. market.
But if the companies fail to settle in the coming weeks, the next trial will involve much newer devices, including the iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPod Touch, which Apple claims have been copied by Samsung smartphones and tablets such as the Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Tab 2. Legal experts say that given those products remain on the market in large numbers, Samsung could be exposed to even higher damage amounts if a jury sides with Apple; as with the first trial, Samsung also has counterclaims against Apple for patent violations on its technology.
Apple is pressing a number of patent claims, including for features such as the Siri voice search and the slide-to-unlock image.
Koh has already concluded that Samsung violated the company's patent on the iPhone auto-complete function in a pretrial ruling.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz