Beginning in 2010 and 2011, Apple and Samsung seemed to be engaged in a never ending battle over patents. In April 2011, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung saying the company had copied the “look and feel” of iPhones with its new Galaxy phones. The battle started when Samsung countersued Apple for not paying royalties after using its wireless transmission technology. Apple and Samsung continued to go back and forth with accusing each other of copying functions and appearances. In May 2012, it looked like both companies were tired of the legal battles.
Apple and Samsung were both willing to compromise because they wanted to avoid going to court. A California court had suggested they limit the number of disputed patents, so both agreed to cut the number of disputed patents in half. The court also urged the two companies to go to mediation to resolve their disputes. Both agreed with the court, but Apple still tried to get a judge to bar the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 because it was designed to mirror Apple’s iPad. Their effort was not successful.
Mediation between the companies lasted for two days. Both Tim Cook and Gee-Sung Choi attended the meetings in an attempt to put their differences aside. Samsung is Apple’s biggest supplier and both CEO’s knew the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship. Despite this, both sides refused to back down or compromise. Apple ultimately won more than $409 million at trial.
While Apple and Samsung were not able to resolve their issues through mediation, we hope this serves as a lesson for other business owners. The longer your company spends fighting another company, the more uncooperative both of you become. Therefore, it is essential to go into mediation with an open mind and before legal battle take a toll on your relationship. Apple and Samsung did not go into mediation looking for a solution and it may be the reason they never reached one. We advise all business owners to do their best to mediate a solution before going to the courts.
Source referenced: Harvard Law Program on Negotiation