Can a Mistrial Save Apple and Samsung?
In law, there are no winners and losers. There are simply verdicts, appeals and mistrials.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung are learning this the hard way. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant thought that it had made a significant step forward when it won a $1 billion verdict in its first domestic patent dispute with Samsung. But in addition to filing an appeal, Apple's South Korean rival did everything in its power to score a mistrial. After uncovering a few hidden details about the jury foreman, Samsung might have actually succeeded.
If a mistrial occurs, Apple's verdict goes out the window. The two corporations will then be forced to start the hectic process all over again. Apple could simply walk away and save itself millions of dollars in additional legal fees. But things are not that simple.
Apple has sued Samsung in multiple nations all over the world. Samsung responded to these lawsuits by countersuing Apple. The South Korean manufacturer wasted no time in announcing that the iPhone 5 infringes on some of its patents. In a statement to The Telegraph, Samsung said that it has "always preferred to compete in the marketplace with our innovative products, rather than in courtrooms. However, Apple continues to take aggressive legal measures that will limit market competition."
Even if Apple wanted to walk away, it no longer can. The lawsuits have grown so great, and the claims have become so complicated and intertwined that it is hard to imagine a time at which either firm will be free.
To be fair, Apple started this mess by attempting to sue the competition out of business. But that doesn't matter anymore. For better or worse, Apple and Samsung are in this for the long haul.
This is why a mistrial must occur. By forcing Apple and Samsung to continually fight the same battle, it will be a financial wakeup call to both parties. After all -- Samsung will not simply give up if it loses again. Apple is unlikely to do the same. Consequently, the battle will continue.
And if this battle lasts long enough, one of the two firms will reluctantly suggest a settlement. It could be a cross-licensing deal that will prevent money from changing hands. Whatever it is, it will mean that this battle will finally be over.
Best of all, this could have a ripple effect. Apple and Samsung will not agree to a cross-licensing deal that only applies to one nation.
Thus, if an agreement is reached in America, it could prevent future disputes from occurring locally and abroad. This would be best for both firms as well as consumers. It would save Apple and Samsung an immeasurable amount of money and allow the two tech giants to refocus their attention on building better products.
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