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Apple files EU patent dispute against Motorola

Apple has called on EU anti-trust regulators to settle the company's patent dispute with Motorola, Moto says.

The latest in the ongoing patent wars: Apple has called on EU anti-trust regulators to settle a patent dispute between the Cupertino company and Motorola. It's the equivalent of warring brothers calling on their parents to sort out a long-running argument.

Apple is fighting claims that it infringed Motorola's mobile patents. This is just the latest instalment in the saga that is the patent disputes between big mobile companies.

Motorola made the announcement in a regulatory filing on Friday, Reuters reports. Moto said: "On February 17, 2012, the company received a letter from the European Commission notifying it that the Commission has received a complaint against Motorola Mobility, Inc. by Apple, Inc. regarding the enforcement of MMI's standards-essential patents against Apple allegedly in breach of MMI's FRAND (fair and reasonable) commitments.

"Apple's complaint seeks the Commission's intervention with respect to standards-essential patents," it went on.

In other words: Apple wants to be left alone.

No doubt wary of the constant wranglings, regulators in Europe and the US have said they would intervene to stop companies overcharging rivals for patents essential to making devices work with others. Which has to be good news for those of us buying the devices.

Motorola recently succeeded in having some Apple devices banned from sale in Germany, though Apple overturned it within hours. A court also ruled in favour of Apple in the slide-to-unlock patent, declaring Motorola had infringed it with its own version. (Though the Xoom was exempt.) Expect Apple to bring similar cases against other makers of Android devices, such as arch rival Samsung. It was a rare victory for Apple, which has been suffering in the courts of late.

These legal spats are unfortunate, but inevitable: the smart phone market grew 55 per cent last year, according to IDC, so wherever that much money is floating around companies are bound to protect their interests.

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