Apple and Samsung agree to drop cases outside the US

Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy The legal battle between the two rivals has escalated in recent years

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Apple and Samsung have agreed to withdraw all legal cases against each other outside the United States.

The two rivals have sued each other over a range of patent disputes in nine countries outside the US, including the UK, South Korea, Japan and Germany.

A joint statement said the agreement "does not involve any licensing arrangements", and they would continue to pursue existing cases in US courts.

The two firms are the biggest players in the smartphone and tablet PC market.

But they have been involved in a bitter legal battle, spread across various countries, which has escalated in recent years.

Multiple disputes

The legal wrangling between the two companies began in 2011 after Apple sued Samsung in the US.

It claimed that the South Korean firm's Galaxy range of phones and tablets "slavishly" copied its iPhone and iPad.

iPhone with slide to unlock The "slide to unlock" feature is one of the technologies that has been disputed in the legal battle between the two firms

The South Korean firm has since taken Apple to court in various countries, accusing it of infringing its patents.

These included patents on a way to synchronise photos, music and video files across several devices, and a method to capture and send video over the internet.

For its part, Apple filed counter claims in some of those countries - disputes which the two firms have now agreed to withdraw.

Focus on US

However, the main legal battle between the two companies is being fought in the US courts.

Apple has won two verdicts in the US against Samsung in recent years.

In May, a US court ordered Samsung to pay $119.6m (£71m) to Apple for infringing two of its patents. The amount was way less than the $2.2bn that Apple had sought.

But the court also ruled that Apple infringed Samsung's patents and awarded $158,000 in damages.

However, Samsung denied any wrongdoing and sought $6m after arguing Apple infringed two of its smartphone patents related to camera use and video transmission.

Two years ago, a separate jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05bn in damages for infringing intellectual property.

The jury decided several Samsung devices had infringed iPhone-maker Apple's software and design patents, but rejected counter-claims by Samsung.

That verdict is still being challenged by Samsung.

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