By Cho Mu-hyun
The widely anticipated two-day meeting between chief executives of Samsung and Apple yielded no agreement between the parties mired in a hot legal dispute over copyright infringements.
Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung and Shin Jong-kyun, head of the firm’s mobile division, left Seoul Sunday for the United States to meet Apple CEO Tim Cook by order of the Northern District Court of California, in an attempt to settle the patent fight without going into costly legal proceedings.
The two technology giants could find no clear agreement through the talks, a source said. Apple Korea declined to comment on the matter.
The patent battle is now headed for trial in July, despite both firm’s stated wish to avoid legal proceedings.
According to foreign media outlets, both technology giants held firm on their assertions: Samsung continued to demand Apple pay royalties for using its wireless transmission technology and Apple insisted that Samsung copied its design in various products.
Earlier this month, both sides showed some willingness to lessen the tension by cutting the number of disputed patents in half following a suggestion by the court.
Prior to the talks, Shin had strongly denied copying any designs on the part of Samsung, calling Apple’s allegations “preposterous” to reporters at Gimpo International Airport on Sunday. However, he also commented that Samsung was willing to offer a variety of solutions to the royalty dispute and mentioned cross licensing. Samsung has maintained it has no plans to sign a cross licensing contract before Shin’s comments. Choi avoided speaking to reporters at the airport.
As the meeting was not initiated by either party, patent experts and officials here say it was highly unlikely that the dispute would end amiably.
The dispute started in April last year when Apple sued Samsung for copying the “look and feel” of the iPhone for the Korean company’s hot-selling Galaxy smartphones. Samsung countersued Apple for not paying royalties for using its wireless transmission technology.
Since then, the number of patents in dispute has skyrocketed along with courts of different countries involved. Samsung has requested Apple pay 2.4 percent for each chip in royalties, citing Apple’s violation of FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) practices, and blamed the American firm for delaying negotiations.
However, Apple is also the biggest buyer of Samsung chips, with the California-based company having agreed to buy $11 billion worth of LCD screens, memory chips and other components through 2012.
Last year, Samsung rose to become the biggest smartphone maker in the world, forcing Nokia to cede the top spot. Apple was superior in sales and profits to Samsung throughout last year, but were behind in the first quarter of this year, according to market analysts. According to International Data Corporation, Samsung holds 29.1 percent of the market share in smartphones, while Apple has 24.2 percent.
Choi and Shin are inspecting Samsung’s operations in the United States and will return at an unspecified date, a Samsung official said.