In a huge move in the worldwide legal battles between two of the world's biggest technology companies, the CEO's of Apple and Samsung will meet to try and thrash out a settlement.
Apple and Samsung, the world's number one and two in the mobile devices industry, have agreed to meet for talks in a San Francisco courthouse moderated by a US Magistrate Judge. This will mean that Tim Cook and his counterpart Gee-Sung Choi will have to meet face-to-face in the next 90 days to try and come to some agreement.
Apple and Samsung are entwined in legal battles in nine separate countries around the world, with Apple claiming Samsung has "slavishly copied" the design of its iPhone and iPad for its range of Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
A couple of hours ago, the legal teams of Apple and Samsung told a US court they were willing to enter into an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) effort. This move was on the back of a request from Judge Lucy Koh, a federal judge presiding over two Apple v. Samsung lawsuits in California.
The joint statement from Apple and Samsung read:
"As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions."
A short time later Judge Koh issued the following order:
"The parties have indicated that they are willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference ('MJSC'). ECF No. 873. Therefore, the parties are hereby referred to an MJSC with Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero with a 90-day deadline. As the parties have indicated in their joint statement, the chief executive officer and general counsel of Apple and the chief executive officer and general counsel of Samsung shall appear and participate at the MJSC."
While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it does not mean that the parties will be able to find a settlement. As patent expert Florian Meuller points on on his Foss Patents blog, Google and Oracle entered similar talks last year, ahead of their court case.
Despite Google offering $2.8m in damages a small fraction of future revenue from Android, Oracle turned them down and the two began a 10-week court battle yesterday.