Apple, Google ready to call a truce?

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By Andy Goldberg

San Francisco - Apple and Google are discussing arbitration procedures that could mark the beginning of the end of their long-running war over smartphone patents.

In court filings the two Silicon Valley giants revealed they had been exchanging letters about using binding arbitration to settle their disputes over widely used smartphone patents. While the arbitration would be limited to industry standard patents, the peace talks could expands to cover all patents at issue between the two companies, they indicated.

Apple has sued numerous companies that make phones running on Google's Android operating system for alleged patent violations. Apple settled its case with Taiwanese company HTC last week. But is has also been countersued by Samsung and by Motorola Mobility, which was bought earlier this year by Google.

The letters filed with a court in the US state of Wisconsin related to Apple's claim that Motorola Mobility was demanding too high a price to license smartphone patents that are needed to comply with industry standards.

“Apple is also interested in resolving its dispute with Motorola completely and agrees that arbitration may be the best vehicle to resolve the parties' dispute,” Apple said in the filing.

“We have long sought a path to resolving patent issues and we welcome the chance to build on the constructive dialogue between our companies,” Google general counsel Kent Walker said in a letter to Apple that was filed with the court. “While we prefer to seek a framework for a global (rather than piecemeal) resolution that addresses all of our patent disputes, we are committed to reaching agreement on a license for our respective standard-essential patents.” - Sapa-dpa

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