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Apple, Google drop patent lawsuits. Is this bad news for Samsung?

17 May 2014, 8:29 am EDT By Lori Sandoval Tech Times
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Google and Apple decided to end the patent infringement lawsuits against each other, following what appeared to be a three-year litigation going nowhere.

Lawsuits for dismissal include patent disputes on Motorola Mobility handset of Google but exclude Apple's case against Samsung that uses the Android software of Google. Google, however, only inherited Motorola's case after it acquired the latter in 2012.

"Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies," Apple and Google confirm in a joint motion. "Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license."

Apple has been in several patent-infringement tussles with mobile phone manufacturers, such as staunch contender Samsung, sing the Android software, claiming its features on iPhone and iPad devices were copied. The handset manufacturers involved, meanwhile, defended that Google first created such technology and argued it was Apple that infringed on such patents.

Gathered reports say Apple and Google filed around 20 legal cases against each other in Europe and U.S. The two companies have been shelling out tens of millions of dollars for legal fees as opposed to what could be the reward, said to be shrinking, from the legal tussles.

However, it appeared the two companies were not getting what each wanted all along from the cases, which might have resulted to the said truce, says research. For one, Google failed to persuade the court to order limiting Apple sales as well as failed to demand royalties. Meanwhile, Apple might have been discouraged to pursue the case because of the pending sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion, but part of the deal would allow Google to keep majority of patents of Motorola. Google acquired Motorola in 2012 for over $12 billion.

The truce between two drew much speculations of a possible partnership between Apple and Google, which could spell trouble for Samsung if ever, currently the biggest manufacturer of handsets running on Android software.

"This could signal a new strategy on Apple's part to focus its litigation efforts even more squarely on Samsung, which is by far the largest Android phone manufacturer," Brian Love, law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, told Bloomberg.

Law professor Michael Risch of the Villanova University also says to Bloomberg the truce is "largely symbolic."

"When they decide to drop everything with Samsung, then we'll be talking," Risch adds.

Google's Android and Apple's iOS are stiff contenders in mobile software, providing much of the operating system on major smartphone and tablet devices. Both are in pursuit of leading the industry's pack and keeping their positions in tight cap, in an ever-growing market of the mobile industry. Not only are these two huge companies rivals on software production, but competitors as well in online music and mobile maps applications, among others.

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