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Apple, Google call truce in patent war

AFP-JIJI

The technology titans behind the top two smartphone platforms in the world called a truce Friday in a long-running patent war.

“Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies,” the companies said in a joint statement.

“Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform.”

The companies made it clear that the detente does not include licensing their technology to each other.

Motorola filed a patent lawsuit against Apple in U.S. federal court four years ago, prompting the iPhone maker to fire back with a patent suit of its own.

Litigation has spread to more than a dozen other courts.

Google took on the legal wrangling when it bought Motorola Mobility in 2012 in what was seen at the time as a move to use its patents for defending Android operating software in the increasingly litigious smartphone and tablet markets.

Early this year, Google agreed to sell Motorola Mobility to China-based computer giant Lenovo. The sale has yet to be completed.

California-based Apple has been battling smartphone competitors in courts around the world, accusing rivals using Google’s Android software of copying features from its popular mobile devices.

The legal truce between Apple and Google does not take the pressure off South Korea-based Samsung, which has been a prime legal target for the maker of iPhones and iPads.

A Japanese court ruled earlier that Samsung could seek minimal damages from Apple for patent infringement, with both sides claiming victory in their latest legal skirmish over the design of their smartphones.

Japan’s Intellectual Property High Court ruled that Samsung could claim ¥9.9 million ($98,000) from its U.S. archrival for using Samsung’s data transmission technology, which was found in Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2.

Earlier this month in California’s Silicon Valley, however, jurors in a different patent trial held the line on their $119.6 million damages award to Apple resulting from a patent battle with Samsung.

While the amount is large, it is only a fraction of the more than $2 billion Apple had sought at the outset of the trial against its South Korean competitor in the hot smartphone and tablet computer market.

Jurors agreed that Samsung violated three of the five Apple patents at issue in the two-month trial but also found that Apple had violated a Samsung patent and should pay its rival $158,400 in damages.

Samsung lawyers had maintained that the legal onslaught emerged from a “holy war” Apple declared on Google-made Android software used to power smartphones.

The lawyers’ argument evidently struck a chord with members of the panel, who remarked after the verdict that Apple and Google should deal with their mobile gadget patent issues face to face instead of Apple taking on Android-based device makers in the courts.

The truce, however, did not touch on Apple patent lawsuits aimed at Google partners who make Android-powered smartphones or tablets.