In a joint announcement Apple and Samsung have agreed to halt all legal cases against each other outside the United States. The two companies have been suing each other around the world over a range of patent disputes in nine countries outside the U.S., including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Germany, etc. In the joint statement the companies said that the agreement "does not involve any licensing arrangements," and that they would continue to pursue existing cases in U.S. courts.
The legal battle started in 2011 when Apple sued Samsung in the U.S., claiming that Samsung's Galaxy range of mobile and tablet devices copied its iPhone and iPad.
Apple's patent for "slide to unlock" and universal search are two of the patents that are the heart of the fight. There were other cases where Apple claimed that the design of some Samsung devices were eerily similar to the style and design of the iPad. The South Korean firm in turn took Apple to court in various countries, accusing it of also infringing its patents. Samsung's patents include a method to synchronize photos, music and video files across several devices' and another patent related to a method to capture and send video over the internet. Naturally, Apple filed counter claims in some of those countries.
Now all of those cases outside the U.S. will be dropped, allowing the companies to focus on the patent battles in U.S. courts.
In the United States Apple has won two verdicts against Samsung; In May, a US court ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million to Apple for infringing two of its patents, but the court also ruled that Apple infringed Samsung's patents and awarded it a meager $158,000 in damages. Samsung denied any wrongdoing and sought $6 million after arguing Apple infringed two of its smartphone patents related to camera use and video transmission. Two years ago, a different jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for infringing on the company's intellectual property including software and design patents. That jury rejected the counter-claims by Samsung.
That verdict is still being challenged by Samsung.