Apple drops patent lawsuit against Samsung Galaxy S III Mini
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has agreed to drop the new Samsung Galaxy S III Mini from its patent litigation against Samsung in exchange for the Korean electronics maker's commitment not to sell the Mini in the United States, according to a report by Reuters.
In November, Apple petitioned the court to add the Mini and other Samsung products to its patent litigation. However, the Mini patents Apple is challenging are different from the ones included in the lawsuit that yielded Apple a $1 billion verdict earlier this year, a verdict that Samsung is challenging.
Samsung began offering the Mini in Europe earlier this year as a competitor to the iPhone 5 and asserted that it was not selling the Mini in the U.S., although Apple's attorneys were able to purchase Minis from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and have them delivered in the U.S., according to the report.
Based on Samsung's statement that it is not "making, selling, offering to sell or importing the Galaxy S III Mini in the United States," Apple agreed to withdraw its patent lawsuit against the Mini "so long as the current withdrawal will not prejudice Apple's ability later to accuse the Galaxy S III Mini if the factual circumstances change," it said.
Apple and other mobile device manufacturers have been diverting resources from research and development to fight numerous patent wars in court.
According to a Stanford University study, $20 billion has been spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years. In addition, patent-related spending by Apple and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) exceeded their R&D spending last year, according to public filings cited by the New York Times.
Spending on R&D could be targeted at innovative products for the enterprise mobility market, but instead they are being squandered on lawyers and court fees.