Apple, Google and Microsoft at 'Geneva summit' over patent policy

Apple, Google and Microsoft at 'Geneva summit' over patent policy
Talks could result in less legal action

Some of the tech world's biggest companies have gathered in Geneva to discuss possible resolutions to the ongoing intellectual property and patent issues.

Apple, Google and Microsoft are among the technology giants attending the summit talks at the behest of the United Nations' International Telecommunications Unit.

The big three American companies were also scheduled to be joined at the industry-wide roundtable by Samsung, RIM, Qualcomm, Intel, HP, Huawei, Sony, Nokia, Philips and Cisco among others.

The talks were arranged in the hope of finding a way to protect the IP of companies without hindering further innovation or the "stiffling" legal proceedings which have dominated 2012.

Unwelcome trend

"We are seeing an unwelcome trend in today's marketplace to use standard-essential patents to block markets," said ITU secretary general Hamadoun Toure.

The talks will centre around how decisions on industry-standard tech can be enforced, while ensuring that the creator of that tech is fairly, but not unduly, compensated for its efforts through licensing agreements.

Establishing these fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms will make it easier to keep the costs of gadgets lower for consumers by making it easier for rivals to use each-other's patented technologies.

End to sales bans

Microsoft, along with Apple, is in favour a change in rules to prevent sales bans being issued over standard-essential disputes.

A Microsoft statement read: "Consumers and the entire industry will suffer if, in disregard of this promise, firms seek to block others from shipping products on the basis of such standard essential patents."


Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.