Samsung, Apple to end patent disputes outside U.S.

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday it agreed with its U.S. rival, Apple Inc., to end ongoing patent lawsuits outside of the United States.

"Samsung Electronics and Apple have agreed to end patent-related disputes in all countries, except for the U.S.," Samsung said in its statement.

"The agreement, however, is not related to a patent licensing deal between the two, and the patent lawsuit in the U.S. will continue," it said.

The two tech giants had begun their second round of patent lawsuits in the U.S. earlier this year, in which Apple claimed that Samsung had infringed on its patent with the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Tab 2.

Samsung and Apple have been engaging in legal wrangling in the U.S. since April 2011, accusing each other of copying patented technologies in their smartphones.

Since then, the dispute has spread to South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain, France, and Australia.

While the tension between the two remains stiff amid escalating market competition from the maturing smartphone market, the tech giants have also recently shown signs of backing down from the protracted courtroom battles that have yet to draw conclusive results.

The two parties withdrew appeals to the U.S. International Trade Commission in June, and Apple withdrew its appeal from the first-round patent battle in California at the end of July.

Industry watchers say the Samsung-Apple dispute is likely to continue for the time being, as both sides are set to resume the second-round battle in the U.S., with the court rulings most likely to be appealed by the losing side.

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