FORTUNE -- A big patent infringement trial is looming. The issues are complex; the docket is jammed. The judge orders the two sides to submit a proposal for mediation. The principals -- the CEOs of Apple (AAPL) and Samsung -- set dates. The press excitedly reports them.
That was in April 2012. The talks, not surprisingly, went nowhere. The case went to trial.
Now it's January 2014, and it's deja vu all over again.
At stake are a different set of patents than the ones a jury found Samsung to have infringed (to the tune of roughly $1 billion in damages).
These patents are potentially more far-reaching. They're all functional; no design or user interface stuff.
And the infringement claims are against a newer set of Samsung devices -- up to and including the Galaxy S3, but not the Galaxy S4 or later.
FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, for one, thinks Samsung will eventually sign a licensing deal -- as Nokia did two years ago. But the two sides will do it on their schedule, not the court's.
"A few years ago," Mueller writes, "companies of this profile generally settled their disputes out of court ahead of a trial. There was much more fear that the impact of a lost patent trial (and post-trial injunctions) could be devastating. By now many industry players ... are much less scared by a patent infringement suit than they used to be. They know that most patents in this industry are actually invalid as granted, and the patent claims that are ultimately found valid are generally much less powerful while the broader ones rarely survive. In most disputes it still makes sense for parties to agree on licensing -- but more and more companies choose litigation over licensing until the latter is really cheap (and "cheap" is not just a question of money in a dispute like Apple-Samsung but very much a question of non-monetary terms such as "anti-cloning" provisions).
The talks are to be held by or before Feb. 19. The trial is scheduled for March.
I thought the judge was coming around to Apple's point of view. I was wrong.
FORTUNE -- The benches were hard. The courtroom was over-cooled. The reporting challenges were daunting (no Wi-Fi, no cellphones, no laptops). But the drama that unfolded over three weeks of testimony was compelling, and I was happy to be one of a handful of reporters who sat through the whole thing.
I thought I had a good handle MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 11, 2013 8:28 AM ET
The DOJ will rest its case. Apple will present its defense. Summations on Thursday.
FORTUNE -- Eddy Cue, the alleged "ringmaster" of a conspiracy to raise e-book prices in 2010, returns to a Manhattan federal court Monday in the final four days of the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple (AAPL).
Having sailed through a grilling Thursday by the government's lawyer, the star witness of U.S.A. v. Apple will complete the friendly MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 17, 2013 5:47 AM ET
Cue was at the center of what the DOJ calls an illegal scheme to fix the price of e-books.
FORTUNE -- Did Apple (AAPL) take advantage of the turmoil in the digital book market in late 2009 to negotiate favorable deals with five of the six biggest book publishers? Or was it, in fact, the "ringmaster" of an illegal conspiracy that reshaped the industry, forced Amazon (AMZN) and other retailers to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 13, 2013 7:20 AM ET
The tenor of the Apple trial changed dramatically when Amazon took the stand.
FORTUNE -- The lawyers defending Apple (AAPL) in the e-book antitrust case would like nothing better than to make the trial be about Amazon (AMZN), not their client, and on Wednesday they got their chance when Russell Grandinetti took the stand.
In earlier testimony from two publishing executives -- Penguin's David Shanks and Simon & Schuster's Carolyn Reidy -- MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 6, 2013 7:46 AM ET
Day 2 of the Apple antitrust trial focused on Kevin Saul's price-matching provision.
FORTUNE -- Sometime between New Years Day and Jan. 4, 2010, Kevin Saul, one of Apple's (AAPL) in-house attorneys, sat at his office desk in Cupertino and hammered out a paragraph of legalese that the Department of Justice has characterized as the linchpin of Apple's illegal scheme to raise the price of e-books.
The 48-word paragraph ended up, more MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 5, 2013 7:42 AM ET
The outlines of each side's case were clearly laid in Monday's opening arguments.
FORTUNE -- The first rule of law, goes the old lawyers joke, is that if the facts are against you, you argue the law. The second rule is that if the law is against you, you argue the facts.
Based on each side's opening arguments on the first day of U.S.A. v. Apple, it's clear that the Department of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 4, 2013 8:06 AM ET
The best ones, curiously, had nothing to do with Apple.
FORTUNE -- If U.S.A. v. Apple Inc. were decided on the basis of opening day PowerPoint presentations, the government could have rested its case before the first witness was called.
The Department of Justice's visual presentation (see link to pdf below) was like something you'd expect from Apple (AAPL). The slides were simple, to the point and thoughtfully laid out. Companies were logos. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 3, 2013 7:43 PM ET
Apple's vice president for internet services emerges as the key witness for both sides.
FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) e-book antitrust trial began Monday and it quickly became clear that the case will revolve around Eddy Cue -- Steve Jobs' point man in the negotiations with publishers that the Department of Justice claims was an illegal conspiracy to raise the price of e-books.
The government's opening statement -- delivered before a packed courthouse MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 3, 2013 1:34 PM ET
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