Apple and Samsung may be close to resolving their patent dispute in Australia, after the South Korean company offered a proposal to solve issues regarding touch-screen technology used in its Galaxy 10.1 tablet.
Details about the proposal weren’t discussed in Sydney court proceedings determining whether or not to stop the Samsung device from launching in Australia, a debut originally set for today but put on hold because of the hearing.
Samsung agreed this week to withdraw two tablet features that Apple claims infringes on its patents, leaving only a dispute over the device’s touch screen. If that issue is resolved, the Australian courts may allow the Galaxy Tab’s release to go forward and resolve Apple’s request for a ban.
The Australian case is part of a wider patent battle pending in courts in the U.S. and three other countries, and would offer a resolution in a web of litigation that has tangled both companies.
Similar lawsuits have been filed worldwide, with both companies seeking bans against each other’s devices. Apple succeeded in Germany, where courts ordered a ban on the Galaxy 10.1, and in the Netherlands, where a court restricted Samsung smartphones across Europe for violating Apple patents.
An injunction in Australia would mean the device couldn’t be sold until the Samsung-Apple battle comes to trial, scheduled to start in late October. An Australian judge said Wednesday she expects to rule on the injunction sometime next week.
The ruling may be delayed though, as Apple and Samsung did not finish closing arguments in today’s hearing. They will continue discussions on Tuesday, giving both sides time to review Samsung’s latest offer and possibly come up with a last-minute settlement that could avert the ban.
Both Apple and Samsung most likely have some tough work and serious, productive discussion in order to reach a settlement and avoid next month’s trial. But a deal may offer a template to wrap the other lawsuits that both companies have filed against one another.
The ongoing litigation may already be hurting the companies’ supplier relationship, and a quick resolution may benefit both tech giants in repairing a now contentious relationship.
Japanese tech company TSMC, rather than Samsung, may make Apple’s A5 processor next year. Samsung supplied chips for Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, but their ongoing court battles may lead them to cut ties with each other. Until their mutual litigation is resolved, Samsung’s supplier role may be in doubt, giving other parties a chance to vie for Apple’s coveted contracts.