APPLE and Samsung may inch closer to settling their global litigation over smartphone patents with decisions in the US and Europe that allow sales of competing handsets while the legal fight continues.
Samsung and Apple, the world's two biggest smartphone makers, have each scored victories in their patent disputes fought over four continents since Apple accused Asia's biggest electronics maker of "slavishly copying" its devices.
The companies, competing for dominance of a global mobile-device market estimated at $346bn (€261bn) this year, are fighting over patents even as Apple remains one of Samsung's biggest customers.
Apple's request for a US sales ban on 26 Samsung devices was rejected by a federal judge on Monday, following a California jury verdict in August finding infringement of six of the iPhone maker's patents that awarded Apple $1.05bn.
"There will be some settlement of some sort and all this stuff is just going to dictate who's going to provide a bit more money than the other," said David Long, a patent lawyer with Dow Lohnes in Washington, who's not involved in the case. "All this court stuff is just posturing."
The US International Trade Commission is scheduled to announce the next steps in Apple's case against Samsung on January 9, with a decision in Samsung's case against Apple expected the following week. (Bloomberg)