By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics is negotiating with Apple for a cross-licensing deal to end their patent dispute, according to industry sources, Sunday.
"Samsung has been talking to Apple since late last year," said an industry source familiar with the issue. "It has come down to the issue of fees for Apple."
There has been speculation that talks with Apple are under way and that the Korean firm is willing to seek a compromise with Apple, once they find a middle ground in setting cross-licensing fees.
Apple took Samsung to court in California in 2011, alleging that Samsung copycatted iPhones and iPads. The jury's verdict was that Samsung should pay $1billion. The presiding judge cut this by half.
The two are fighting legal battles in the United States, Germany, France, Japan and Italy.
The sources said that Samsung is trying to iron out differences over key issues ahead of a new trial in the U.S. federal circuit slated for November.
They said that Apple holds the key as to whether the two will reach a compromise or continue to fight as Apple's request to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) for a stay of remedial orders such as an import ban or cease and desist was rejected.
In June, the USITC barred Apple from importing some of its i-devices including iPad 2 and iPhone 4 on Apple's home turf because they infringed on Samsung patents.
After a 60-day presidential review, the final decision will be announced on Aug. 4. The USITC will rule whether Samsung infringed on Apple patents on Aug.
"Both companies are now finding better conditions to bring the settlement talks on their sides. That's why they are paying keen attention to two upcoming separate decisions by the USITC," said another source source.
The USITC is a government agency with quasi-judicial authority which can issue a general exclusion order barring all imports of an infringing item.
Samsung's move to seek a compromise with Apple is in line with the Korean firm's shift in its strategy toward minimizing patent disputes and focusing more on businesses.
The company has recently entered a comprehensive cross-licensing deal with SK hynix for the next five years. Under the agreement, the two firms will have full access to each other's patents. Samsung and SK hynix have 102,995 and 21,422 chip-making patents, respectively.
In a similar move, it also ended the disputes with Rambus of the United States by paying $900 million in return for using the American chip designer's patents.