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Apple, Samsung Agree to Mediator in Attempt to End Suit

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Samsung Galaxy S4 & Apple iPhone 5
An attendee holds a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S4 smartphone, left, next to an Apple Inc. iPhone 5 during an event at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. agreed to a mediator in an effort to resolve their patent disputes over smartphone technology before their next trial in San Jose, California, scheduled to begin in March.

The agreement, filed in federal court in San Jose today, was in response to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s request in November that both sides submit a settlement discussion proposal before trial. Senior legal executives at the companies met Jan. 6 to discuss “settlement opportunities,” according to the proposal.

The companies agreed to retain a mediator “who has experience mediating high profile disputes,” according to the filing, which doesn’t name the person. The chief executive officers and three to four company lawyers, but no outside lawyers, will attend the mediation before Feb. 19, according to the filing.

Apple and Samsung previously tried and failed to reach agreement in court-ordered settlement negotiations. In 2012, in their first patent-infringement case in San Jose, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero handled negotiations. The companies also met at least twice in 2011 to discuss settling their dispute before the U.S. International Trade Commission, according to a company filing.

Ban Sought

Apple is again seeking an order banning sales in the U.S. of Samsung products that were at issue in the companies’ first patent trial in California even though they are now no longer on the market. Apple said in a court filing that it needed the injunction to deter Samsung from releasing new products that also infringed its patents.

The iPhone-maker last month asked Koh to bar sales of more than 20 smartphones and tablets that a jury in 2012 found to infringe Apple’s patents. Total damages owed by Samsung in that case stand at $930 million.

While Koh rejected Cupertino, California-based Apple’s bid for a sales ban on the infringing Samsung devices after the 2012 verdict, a federal appeals court on Nov. 18 cleared the way for the company to pursue an injunction targeting some Samsung products. Apple’s second case against Samsung in San Jose is over newer models, including Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, declined to comment on the mediation.

Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, declined to comment on the filing.

The lower court case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose). The appeals court case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 13-1129, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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