Samsung, Apple agree to drop lawsuits outside US

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - Samsung and Apple Inc. have agreed to end all patent lawsuits between each other outside the U.S. in a step back from three years of legal hostilities between the world's two largest makers of smartphones.

However, Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday that the two smartphone rivals will continue to pursue existing cases in U.S. courts. The two companies did not strike any cross-licensing deal.

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"Samsung and Apple have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States," the South Korean company said in a statement. "This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts."

The announcement is a significant lessening of corporate hostilities after years of bitter patent disputes over the intellectual property rights for mobile designs and technology. The legal fights spanned a dozen countries in Asia, North America and Europe.

Now, lawsuits and other legal actions by Samsung and Apple will come to an end in countries including Germany, England, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

The patent cases in the U.S. have come with bigger awards for damages than other countries. In May, a California jury awarded Apple $119 million in a patent battle with Samsung.

The series of high-stake lawsuits over some of the world's most popular gadgets began in April, 2011 when Apple accused Samsung, the maker of Galaxy phones, of slavishly copying the iPhone. Samsung responded by charging Apple of stealing its mobile technology.
 

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