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Samsung, Apple 'could sign peace treaty'

Two companies could agree to cross-licence patents - report

Samsung and Apple could come to a compromise in their long-running patent dispute, a Fitch Ratings analyst believes.

The Korea Times reports that Alvin Lim, associate director at Fitch Ratings, thinks that the two companies will come to an agreement rather than continue with long, costly legal actions.

"If the situation escalates to a point where both companies do not see any benefit in the ongoing legal battle, it will likely lead to a compromise that serves the interests of both," Lim told the newspaper.

Lim's comments come after the EU announced that it was making a preliminary antitrust investigation into Samsung's patent licensing terms. Samsung has sued Apple in five EU countries alleging infringement of its patents on 3G mobile technology. The European Commission will now consider whether the South Korean company is abusing the principle of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing in these cases.

Lim believes that Samsung will continue taking aggressive counter-measures against Apple's lawsuits, which date back to April this year, when Cupertino accused Samsung of 'slavishly' copying the design of its devices.

The two companies could potentially reach a stalemate where neither sees the benefit in continuing legal actions, leading to some kind of cross-licensing agreement, Lim believes.

And as Lim points out, both companies have a lot to lose. Apple is a key customer of Samsung, buying processors, LCDs and NAND flash memory from the South Korean firm. While Samsung wouldn't want to lose Apple's business, Apple would find it difficult to find other suppliers that could provide the required volumes.

Samsung recently overtook Apple as the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer.

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