2The Court Decisions Have Been Mostly Going Against Samsung
Samsung appears to be on a slippery slope. Although the company has been watching its business grow each year, it lost an important patent case in California. And it’s been fighting a losing patent battle in German courts. Samsung doesn’t appear to have enough of its own patent firepower to overcome the Apple litigation campaign. At this point, it might be better for the company to get out while it still can.
3Apple Has Leverage and Can Make Serious Cash
Since Apple won the patent case in California and was awarded $890 million, it has enjoyed its leverage over Samsung. As the companies again attempt to make a deal, Apple comes to the table knowing that it’s going to make a lot of money one way or another. Apple reportedly wants $30 per allegedly infringing device—an amount Samsung won’t agree to. But if the iPhone maker even gets half of that amount, it will reap a major cash windfall.
4The World Is Growing Tired of the Lawsuits
The world seems to have had enough of all of the lawsuits surrounding the Apple-Samsung saga. While the cases were big news when they first started, now they’ve been relegated to the back page—a byproduct of the countless cases and threats made between the firms. Neither Apple nor Samsung has anything to gain, at least in terms of influencing public opinion or even buying decisions, by keeping these lawsuits going. But the lure of big cash awards and competitive advantages will likely keep litigation going unless they can reach a settlement.
5Samsung Has Caught the Eye of European Union Investigator
Samsung has some issues besides Apple. In the European Union, the company is being investigated for possibly using its patents improperly. The crux is this: Samsung’s so-called “standard-essential” patents must be offered on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms. There’s some question in the European Union about whether Samsung is doing that with some of the patents included in its lawsuits. To settle now might get European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia off its back.
6The Minutiae of FRAND Is Getting Out of Hand
Following that, it’s worth noting that the minutiae of what is exactly fair and reasonable in the enforcement of patent rights and what is not is becoming a headache for the court system as well as Apple and Samsung. FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) patent enforcement issues have always been an issue in the industry. The debate over this issue has come to the fore in the various Apple and Samsung cases. But so far, nothing has been truly resolved. By reaching a deal, Apple and Samsung can put the debate over FRAND behind them.
7The Cases Will Keep Piling Up
There’s no doubting that if the companies don’t come to an agreement, the cases will keep piling up around the world. Apple and Samsung have no love lost between them, and with each new release the companies carefully examine each others’ latest products to find any conceivable way they might violate their patents. At this point, it might be cheaper for Apple and Samsung to settle and end the lawsuits rather than get involved in countless more.
8There’s Not Enough Proof on Either Side
Although Apple has won a single big case, the companies have yet to actually lay down the death knell. It appears—judging by the case conclusions so far—that neither side has enough patent firepower to truly win the war. So rather than continue this charade, the firms should settle on their own terms, rather than leave it to the arbitrary determinations made by judges and juries around the world.
9It Sends a Message
Apple and Samsung are two of the biggest and most important companies in the mobile space. If those firms can agree to terms, it’s possible that other companies might decide against launching more lawsuits. Nokia, HTC, Motorola and several other mobile firms are engaged in lawsuits around the world and have taken on both Apple and Samsung. If Apple and Samsung can ink a deal, those other companies might be willing to come to the table.
10Both Companies Are Fighting Elsewhere
Let’s just assume for a moment that those other firms don’t come to the table. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better for both Apple and Samsung to get their messy war out of the way so they can focus on the many other cases they’re waging around the world? From Motorola to HTC, Apple and Samsung are at odds with nearly every major device maker. It might be time for the companies to focus their legal efforts elsewhere.
11Lawsuits Tend to Stifle Innovation
If companies are designing products with an eye on another’s patent portfolio, innovation will be stifled. Granted, patents are designed to protect innovation, but they can also wreak havoc on innovation if lawsuits get out of control. If Apple and Samsung can enter into a cross-licensing deal, the firms can use what they want and hopefully build better products. There doesn’t appear to be much downside in that.