Apple and Google seem ready to resolve their legal battle through binding arbitration, court documents reveal.
In marked contrast to the bitter and protracted patent battle between mobile giants Apple and Samsung, the dispute between Apple and Google looks like it may be settled in amicable arbitration, assuming some remaining disagreements can be resolved.
Apple and Google have submitted legal documents to the Western District Court of Wisconsin which indicate that they each agree in principle to "binding arbitration" by a third party.
"Apple's goal has always been to find a mutual and transparent process to resolve this dispute on terms that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory ("FRAND") without the threat or taint of exclusionary remedies," wrote Apple counsel Bruce Sewell in a letter to Google that was submitted as part of the court papers.
"Your offer to arbitrate made before Judge Crabb on November 5, 2012 was therefore welcome news. We agree to arbitrate the value of mutual licenses to our respective SEP [standards essential patents] portfolios."
Google counsel Kent Walker responded in friendly terms, agreeing that a "piecemeal" resolution was to be avoided and concurring too on the desirability of reaching a speedy conclusion. Apple would like a decision in six months' time.
“We have long sought a path to resolving patent issues and we welcome the chance to build on the constructive dialogue between our companies,” wrote Walker.
The main point of disagreement concerns out outstanding piece of litigation in Germany, referred to as the 'Orange Book' process, which Apple would like to be shut down as part of a sort of legal cease-fire while arbitration takes place. Google, however, feels that "the record is well developed and the process is scheduled to resolve before an arbitration decision would be reached".
Nevertheless, since the companies are keen to reach a global agreement - and one concerning the Android platform as a whole rather than merely the case of Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility, which was the focus of the case initially - one would assume that the stakes are high enough to encourage some compromise in this area.
Judge in Apple-Samsung case has no appetite for Jelly Bean
Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung continue to slug away at each other in a second patent case. Will clear heads prevail here, and bring us to some form of settlement? History suggests otherwise.
US magistrate judge Paul Grewall has ruled that Apple can add further products to the patent infringement case, such as the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note. But version 4.1 of the Google Android operating system, 'Jelly Bean', cannot be included.
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