U.S. judge sends Apple, Samsung to settlement talks

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:56am EDT

Customers enter the Apple flagship retail store to purchase the new iPad in San Francisco, California March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Customers enter the Apple flagship retail store to purchase the new iPad in San Francisco, California March 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd agreed that their chief executives would participate in settlement talks to try to resolve a patent lawsuit over smartphone and tablet technology, according to a court filing.

Apple sued Samsung in the United States last year, saying the South Korean company's Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets "slavishly" copies the iPhone and iPad. Samsung then countersued Apple.

In a court filing late on Monday, both companies agreed to the settlement conference. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday then referred the companies to a San Francisco-based magistrate judge who will lead the talks.

Representatives for Apple and Samsung could not immediately be reached on Tuesday.

Along with Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung, both companies' general counsels will also participate, according to Koh's order.

The two companies are engaged in a bruising legal battle that includes more than 20 cases in 10 countries as they jostle for the top spot in the smartphone and tablet markets. In the case before Koh, trial is currently scheduled for July.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.

(Reporting By Dan Levine; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Gary Hill)

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