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Apple and Samsung set for peace talks in May

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Exterior view of the Apple iPad 3 launch event in San Francisco

© PA Images / Paul Sakuma/AP

Apple and Samsung Electronics are to meet later this month in a bid to end a bitter and long-running litigation battle between the two firms over their smartphones and tablets.

Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, will meet Samsung boss Gee-Sung Choi in a two-day summit on May 21 and 22, as part of efforts by a US court to see if they can end their differences without needing further legal action.

The two electronics giants have been locked in a globe-spanning battle that has resulted in more than 50 lawsuits across ten different countries.

The talks will aim to address the specific dispute in the US, but it is no doubt hoped that this could lead to resolutions in other countries.

Samsung's relationship with Apple is complicated. It is one of the firm's biggest suppliers of chips and components, but also a key competitor in the smartphone market, and a growing player in the tablet market that is dominated by Apple's iPad.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Plus
Apple has previously accused Samsung of having "slavishly copied" the design of the iPad for its Galaxy Tab range, but Samsung has in turn accused Apple of breaching various aspects of its patented technology.

However, there could be some movement in the dispute as Cook, 51, said during Apple's quarterly results last week: "I've always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it."

Cook noted that Apple would not tolerate the copying of its inventions, but indicated that a settlement would be preferable.

"If we could get to some kind of arrangement where we could be assured that's the case and a fair settlement on the stuff that's occurred, I would highly prefer to settle versus battle," he said.

"But the key thing is that it's very important that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff."

Cook and Choi will meet in a San Francisco courthouse, on the suggestion of Judge Lucy Koh, who wants both sides to reach a settlement rather than hold up the courts.

Alongside the US, Apple and Samsung have ongoing legal disputes in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

The court actions have previously led to a temporary hold on sales of Samsung Galaxy Tab products in Europe, along with a European Commission antitrust investigating into whether Apple had infringed Samsung 3G connectivity patents.

> Steve Jobs biographer: Apple will settle Google Android dispute

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