Executives from Apple and Samsung are in high-level talks over the ongoing iPhone and iPad patent dispute, but a settlement is by no means guaranteed.
US district judge Lucy Koh suggested that the firms should come together to sort out the issue via alternative dispute resolution, during a hearing on Friday reported by Reuters.
Koh made reference to the close business relationship between the two and asked the parties to settle the matter out-of-court.
"Can we get them [the executives] together?" Koh reportedly asked during the hearing.
Harold McElhinny, Apple's legal counsel, confirmed that executives "at the highest levels" of the two companies had become actively involved in the situation.
However, Samsung told V3.co.uk that it is unaware of any talks with Apple.
"We are unaware of any meetings or discussions between the two sides over this matter," the firm said in a statement.
No ruling was made on Friday, but the latest development suggests that there could soon be a settlement, as there was in the smartphone patent dispute between Apple and Nokia.
Software patents expert Florian Mueller argued that despite the talks, it could be some time before a settlement is reached.
"There's so much at stake for both companies that they'll probably need the courts to make some progress before they can agree on the terms of a settlement," he told V3.co.uk.
"For Apple, it's key to keep its products very distinct from the competition. Meanwhile, for Samsung it's strategically important to be not just a supplier of components, but also a vendor of high-margin consumer products."
Apple started proceedings against Samsung in April, and has since accused the Korean firm of "copying" the design of the iPhone and iPad.
The iPhone-maker asserts that high-profile devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy S2, Droid Charge and Nexus S 4G are infringing its patents.
Cupertino lawyers are currently examining the Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G and Droid Charge, together with packaging and inserts, and will determine whether the company should apply for a preliminary injunction.
Samsung counter-sued Apple in April and also filed a motion to gain access to prototypes of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, which it said would help its defence.
The best Black Friday tech bargains out there
Russell Group slammed for misusing student data in donation campaigns
Linus Torvalds is unhappy with current approaches to Linux security
Bug prevents ASLR from randomising location of important data