Apple 2.0

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Apple and Samsung mediation talks end: No deal. No surprise.

May 23, 2012: 2:29 PM ET

The case is going to trial, despite a court-ordered meeting of the two companies' CEOs

Separated at birth? Source: negrielectronics.com

FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook drove up from Cupertino. Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung and Shin Jong-kyun, head of the firm's mobile division, flew in from Seoul. They met, as ordered by a federal judge in the Northern District of California, for two days in a San Francisco courthouse.

The two sides were supposed to try to hammer out an agreement in their long-running patent dispute so that a costly trial could be avoided.

I didn't see any news in U.S. press about what happened, but Wednesday's Korea Times, citing an unnamed Samsung official, reports that the two sides could find "no clear agreement."

This is not a surprise, given the very different patent portfolios the two companies brought to the table.

Many of the patents Samsung claims Apple has infringed are encumbered by so-called FRAND agreements, which require that the patent-holder negotiate royalties on terms that are "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory."

Apple, by contrast, is under no such obligation. And given that Samsung, using Google's (GOOG) iPhone-like operating system, has become the world's largest manufacturer of smartphones, Apple has little incentive to compromise. See Why Samsung must negotiate. Why Apple won't settle.

The trial is scheduled to start July 30.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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