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Samsung’s tough patent stance with Apple may not really be all that tough

Samsung’s mobile chief said today that the company has no intention of settling its high-profile patent battle with Apple. The Korean manufacturer actually made a point of citing HTC’s recent licensing agreement with Apple, saying that while HTC may be willing to pony up $276 million to the iPhone maker, “we don’t intend to (negotiate) at all.”

That’s a surprisingly cut-and-dried statement, and it’s one that my colleague Erica Ogg says is a no-brainer considering Samsung’s legal position. Samsung “has already experienced the worst-case scenario” in losing a $1.05 billion judgment to Apple in August, she writes, and the PR damage and economic impact can’t “really be undone.”

But Ogg rightly notes that Samsung has scored victories against Apple in the Netherlands, Japan and the U.K., and those wins are why CNET’s Josh Lowensohn is correct to think that Samsung may only be posturing here. While the U.S. judgment was a brutal blow, the patent war between Apple and Samsung rages on across the globe. And that kind of war can be very expensive regardless of the outcome. So I think Samsung is probably happy to listen to Apple even as it takes a hard-line stance. The question, then, is whether Apple is interested in settling this behind closed doors rather than waging protracted court battles. Given Apple’s big win and massive bank account, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s really Apple — not Samsung — who has no interest in talking.