Apple and Samsung Agree To End All Non-U.S. Patent Disputes

Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all non-U.S. litigation. The announcement came late Tuesday in a release first reported by the Financial Times. In the joint statement, the two tech giants said they “…have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States.”

This brings to an end a crucial part of the ongoing intellectual property battle between Apple and Samsung, which have been slugging it out for years in courts across the world, with noteworthy decisions rendered in Germany, Japan and in other markets. The Apple and Samsung dispute, which mostly sees Apple accusing Samsung of copying its device designs and Samsung retaliating with countersuits asserting infringement of its mobile phone tech patents, has been among Apple’s longest standing legal battles, after it settled suits with HTC, Motorola Mobility and Google earlier. Samsung has also been seen as a way for Apple to target Android indirectly, since the Korean company owns such a hefty share of that market.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. But, as noted in the statement, this agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements or existing court cases within the U.S. Apple and Samsung will now focus their efforts in ongoing trials in two California courts, both of which are in the appeals phase.

Apple filed for a cross-appeal of final judgement in March. The most recent action happened last week when Apple dropped the cross-appeal judgement of a landmark 2012 ruling.

Keeping open the lawsuits in the U.S. likely doesn’t indicate a desire to continue the legal battle in that market, however, as both cases currently ongoing in the U.S. are in various stages of appeal, meaning that their ultimate resolution could finally bury the hatchet between the two device makers (though the lack of any licensing agreements mean tensions could flare up again in the future). Both have likely realized they have bigger fish to fry when it comes to the future of the mobile market, and challenges they face from emerging competitors including Xiaomi and other Chinese phone makers.

This could also be a sign that Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t quite as committed to a patent battle with Samsung as former CEO and founder Steve Jobs was reported to have been. Regardless of the reason behind the detente, it could be good news for the supplier relationship between Apple and Samsung, which ultimately should be good for both companies’ bottom lines.