Apple, Samsung Heading Back to Mediation

With the next trial looming in a San Jose, Calif. court in March, Apple and Samsung are once again heading to mediation to work out their respective patent disputes on the smartphone technology front.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in November requested that the companies take part in a settlement discussion before the trial, according to Bloomberg, and the companies reportedly met on Jan. 6 to discuss opportunities to bring the case to a close without stepping foot back in a courtroom.

According to the filing, Apple and Samsung agreed to hire a mediator EUwho has experience mediating high profile disputes,EU Bloomberg reports. Nevertheless, industry watchers are skeptical that mediation will result in a resolution.

Apple Needs an Arbitrator

We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, to get his take on the latest round of mediation. He told us Samsung and Apple have been ordered to mediation several times without a positive outcome.

EUI would be more excited if they were going to arbitration because the arbitrator can render a decision -- and that decision is binding,EU Enderle said. EUBut with mediation the mediator recommends a decision and then itEUs up to the parties to agree or not. If they donEUt agree [they] go back to court.EU

Mediation hasnEUt worked because neither Apple nor Samsung has been willing to abide by the mediatorEUs recommendations. Enderle said unless that changes or unless the companies go to arbitration, mediation probably wonEUt work any better this time around than it has in the past.

Both Companies Want Out

EUUnfortunately, if the two parties are far apart the mediator canEUt resolve it,EU he said. EUThe mediator has to find middle ground -- a place where both companies overlap and where the companies accept what the mediator says.EU

From EnderleEUs perspective, itEUs far better to go...

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