Steve Jobs Started Talks With Samsung About Patent Dispute, Director Says

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc. (AAPL), initiated contact with rival Samsung Electronics Co. in July 2010 to try to resolve a patent dispute that has since become a legal battle on four continents, an Australian court was told.

Jobs wasn’t involved once the ultimately unsuccessful talks over the Galaxy smartphone began, Richard Lutton, a senior director at Apple and the company’s patent attorney, told Federal Court in Sydney today.

“Samsung is an important supplier with whom we have a deep relationship,” Lutton testified in response to questioning by Samsung lawyer David Catterns. “We wanted to give them a chance to do the right thing.”

Lutton testified at a hearing about Apple’s effort to block Samsung from selling the Galaxy 10.1 computer tablet in Australia until its patent claims are resolved at trial. Samsung had already agreed to delay the sales of the tablets until Justice Annabelle Bennett rules on Apple’s request. She said that would likely occur next week.

The talks were confidential, Lutton said. Once lawyers began to question him about the content of the negotiations, Bennett cleared the courtroom to allow the testimony in private.

James Chung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, declined to comment on Lutton’s remarks or the negotiations.

Apple claims that Samsung used its patents to copy the iPhone and the iPads. Samsung has also sued with claims in South Korea, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia that Apple violated its own patents.

Samsung is the second largest supplier for Apple, while Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer, according to data on the Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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