Apple, Samsung Must Reach a Patent Accord: 10 Reasons Why

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple and Samsung are meeting up to discuss their patent issues. It would be great if the two companies could reach some kind of agreement that would reduce the number of suits they are pursuing against each and let the market decide which company’s products are most interesting. But the chances of that look slim at best.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung chief executive Choi Gee-sung met on May 21 in San Francisco to discuss the bitter patent dispute the companies are waging around the world. The meeting is the result of a court-ordered mediation that some stakeholders hope will result in some sort of settlement or understanding that would reduce the number of cases they're waging against each other.

There doesn€™t seem to be much common ground on which the two companies could reach a settlement on the patent issues. There is too much at stake in terms of cash and market advantage for either company to relent. Simply put, the chances of Cook and Choi even coming close to making friends by the end of the day seem rather slim.

Still, the companies and their chief executives aren€™t there to be friends. Quite the contrary, they only need to come to some sort of an agreement to make this all right. Not only will such an agreement benefit them and their operations, it might just benefit consumers and enterprise users.

Here€™s why Apple and Samsung should come to a patent agreement:

1. It€™s costly

Although Apple and Samsung continue to file lawsuits against each other, the companies are spending a serious amount of cash just to do so. And so far, neither firm has been able to gain an upper hand in their battles. At some point the one company or the other will have to decide whether the costly litigation is worth it.

2. They€™re not going anywhere

From a consumer perspective, it€™s easy to see why Apple and Samsung should strike a deal. The patents issues won€™t go away. It seems that every day the companies are launching a new lawsuit against each other without even coming to terms on the previous cases. Enough is enough.

3. They€™re hurting innovation

It€™s hard to deny that the cases are hurting innovation. Now, before companies can even conceptualize a product, they have to think about whether some obscure aspect of the design will violate a patent. It appears that patent violation disputes are inevitable no matter how careful they might be about design or component selection. After all, if a court comes down in favor of one side or another, it can dramatically affect future products. Patent lawsuits are designed to protect innovation, but in this case, they might just be holding back innovation.

4. Think of public perception

It€™s about time both Cook and Choi consider how their companies look with all of these lawsuits. Yes, we know that it€™s €œprinciple€ and what€™s right is right, but the average mobile technology buyer and industry watcher are often turned off by the endless and seemingly petty patent charges the companies levy against each other. Apple and Samsung need to think about public perception and come to some sort of an agreement.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...