Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Samsung, Apple CEOs to discuss dispute

AP and Bloomberg, SEOUL

The chief executives of Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc are to meet to discuss settling a bitter two-year legal battle over designs and technologies of smartphones and tablets.

A filing with the US District court in San Jose showed yesterday that senior legal executives from Apple and Samsung agreed earlier this week that the chief executives will meet by or before Feb. 19.

The agreement was made in response to a court order to submit a proposal for settlement discussions before a new trial begins in March. The March trial involves more recent mobile devices than previous cases.

The same court ordered Apple and Samsung chief executives to meet in 2012 for settlement talks.

Samsung declined to comment.

Many industry watchers predict the two companies will ultimately settle their patent lawsuits outside court.

The world’s top two smartphone makers have waged legal battles over mobile devices since Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPhone and iPad in 2011. Later, Samsung claimed Apple used its technologies without permission, expanding battles to courts in Asia, Europe and North America.

Separately, Samsung is set to release its Galaxy S5 smartphone by April and is considering using iris scanning technology for the first time as it readies the new high-end handset to compete with Apple’s latest iPhones.

The S5 is to be paired with a new wearable device that will be an evolution of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Lee Young-hee, executive vice president of the company’s mobile business, said in an interview on Monday.

“We’ve been announcing our first flagship model in the first half of each year, around March and April, and we are still targeting for release around that time,” Lee said. “When we release our S5 device, you can also expect a Gear successor with more advanced functions and the bulky design will also be improved.”

Samsung, which sells one of every three smartphones globally, is adding new features and models to fend off Apple in the high-end market and Chinese makers luring budget customers with handsets for US$100.

Asia’s biggest technology company will announce at least one other wearable device this year, Lee said, without elaborating.

Samsung registered a design in South Korea in October for eyeglasses that can show information from a smartphone and enable users to take calls.

Sales of the S4, the company’s current marquee handset, slowed after Apple released the iPhone 5S and 5C in September. The 5S includes a fingerprint-identity sensor and Samsung is considering using an eye scanner in its top-end smartphone.

“Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology,” Lee said at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “We are studying the possibility.”

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