In Patent Wars, Apple’s Cook Prefers to ‘Settle Versus Battle’

Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked on yesterday’s earnings call whether it would be in the company’s best interests to clear the decks of all its various patent suits. Back in 2009, when asked about the mobile competition on a call, Cook said, “If others rip off our intellectual property, we will go after them.”

This time, Cook said:

“I’ve always hated litigation and I continue to hate it. We just want people to invent their own stuff.”

He continued:

“I would highly prefer to settle versus battle. But, you know, 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.”

Of course, some say Apple is itself an IP offender. This includes International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender, who ruled yesterday that Apple had violated one patent belonging to Motorola Mobility. An ITC panel will decide later this summer whether to uphold Motorola’s request for an import ban on the iPhone and the iPad.

Cook’s response comes after an order last week from U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who required the Apple chief, Samsung CEO Choi Gee Sung and both companies’ general counsels to meet and discuss a possible settlement. Both companies told the court they are willing to participate in the settlement conference.

However, Samsung showed it wasn’t done fighting. Shortly after Koh’s order, the South Korean company filed another suit against Apple.

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