Apple, Samsung agree to try mediation in patent disputes

Can Apple and Samsung at long last put aside years of animosity and patent litigation and hold hands and make nice?

Don't hold your breath, but the companies have at least agreed to try. Again. 

The smartphone and tablet rivals will work with a mediator in an effort to settle their patent disputes in advance of a second trial on the issues scheduled for this spring, according to Bloomberg News.

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The two companies have been in and out of U.S. District Court in San Jose as they duel over two related patent lawsuits filed by Apple. 

Apple won the first one in August 2012, though appeals of the original $1-billion award in the case have kept it bouncing around. At the same time, the two companies are sharpening their swords in advance of a second trial, scheduled for March, over more recent Samsung products that Apple claims violated its patents. 

Last fall, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh requested that both sides give mediation another shot.

In a legal filing Wednesday, the two companies said they will hire a mediator who "has experience mediating high profile disputes." The settlement talks are to include the chief executive officers of both firms as well as lawyers from each company, but no outside counsel. The talks are scheduled to take place on or before Feb. 19.

The companies have been down this road before, but mediated negotiations in 2011 failed to resolve the disputes.


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