Apple, Samsung end Australian patent battle

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Apple, Samsung end Australian patent battle

Fight rages on in the United States.

Apple and Samsung have agreed to call it quits on long-running patent battles in Australia and other jursidictions around the world, but continue to fight their most high-profile case over patent infringement in the United States.

The companies today put out a joint statement advising of a mutual agreement to drop all litigation in courts outside the US, meaning legal battles in eight countries including Australia will now come to an end.

But the pair warned the agreement "does not involve any licensing arrangements" and that the companies are "continuing to pursue the existing cases in US courts."

The ceasefire agreement covers court battles in Japan, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, the UK, France and Italy alongside Australia.

Apple initiated the global patent war in the US in 2011, accusing Samsung of copying the design of the iPhone. Samsung followed swiftly in a number of other countries by accusing Apple of using elements of its wireless transmission technology without permission.

In Australia, the battle began after the release of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Apple launched legal action to have the device banned from sale amid claims Samsung had infringed on 10 Apple design patents.

Apple was briefly successful in removing the Galaxy Tab from sale, but Samsung soon fired back, alleging Apple had infringed seven of Samsung's Australian patents related to wireless communications in several generations of iPhones and the iPad 2. 

Apple countered, accusing Samsung of failing to negotiate a fair royalty on these patents.

The companies have slowly been de-escalating legal battles globally over the past year. Samsung agreed not to seek European injunctions for five years over a number of patents, and both agreed to drop appeals in the United States International Trade Commission regarding an import ban on a number of Samsung phones.

In the US, the pair have initiated a number of trials, appeals and countersuits in which both accused the other of infringing patents. Apple has attempted - and briefly succeeded - in removing specific Samsung devices from sale.

The most recent case, in which Apple asserted Samsung had violated five Apple patents - which Samsung again counterclaimed against - wrapped up in May, with Apple winning US$119 million (A$128 million) in damages.

Apple is now pursuing a US sales ban on the Samsung products at the centre of the most recent trial. Samsung has announced it would appeal the decision.

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