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What an End to the Apple-Samsung Patent War Might Mean for Consumers

•, By Christina Bonnington

Apple and Samsung have been engaged in heated patent litigation since April 2011, but it looks like resolution could finally be imminent.

On May 21 and 22, the two companies will meet in a San Francisco court to settle their differences. In contention: more than 50 patent-related lawsuits that have been filed in 10 countries.

Apple initially went after Samsung because its products were similar “beyond the realm of coincidence” to Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The companies have since chased one other around the globe, using their patent holdings as weapons of warfare in a larger battle for consumer electronics dominance.

“This is all a game of chess for them,” IHS analyst Wayne Lam told Wired. “Ultimately, in these patent litigations, it gets sorted out in the back rooms, and usually involves people and companies cross-licensing from one another.”
Patent expert Florian Mueller, who’s been following the Apple versus Samsung case closely, estimates that the dispute has cost each party hundreds of millions of dollars per year, and thinks the upcoming proceedings in San Francisco won’t yield a full resolution, but will be a major step in that direction.

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