FORTUNE — A big patent infringement trial is looming. The issues are complex; the docket is jammed. The judge orders the two sides to submit a proposal for mediation. The principals — the CEOs of Apple (AAPL) and Samsung — set dates. The press excitedly reports them.
That was in April 2012. The talks, not surprisingly, went nowhere. The case went to trial.
Now it’s January 2014, and it’s deja vu all over again.
At stake are a different set of patents than the ones a jury found Samsung to have infringed (to the tune of roughly $1 billion in damages).
These patents are potentially more far-reaching. They’re all functional; no design or user interface stuff.
And the infringement claims are against a newer set of Samsung devices — up to and including the Galaxy S3, but not the Galaxy S4 or later.
FOSS Patents‘ Florian Mueller, for one, thinks Samsung will eventually sign a licensing deal — as Nokia did two years ago. But the two sides will do it on their schedule, not the court’s.
The talks are to be held by or before Feb. 19. The trial is scheduled for March.