Apple, Google and Microsoft at patent policy summit

Technology's biggest names gather in Geneva to resolve patent disputes

Apple, Google and Microsoft are among the tech companies that have convened in Geneva for a roundtable discussion on patents hosted by the UN

The list of companies, which also includes the likes of RIM, Qualcomm, Intel, HP, Huawei, Sony, Nokia, Philips and Cisco, are meeting at the behest of the United Nations' International Telecommunications Unit.

The purpose of the talks, according to the ITU's website is "to provide a neutral venue for industry, standards bodies and regulators to exchange innovative ideas that can guide future discussions on whether current patent policies and existing industry practices adequately respond to the needs of the various stakeholders".

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

In other words, the UN is hoping to broker some resolution in the ongoing legal actions concerning intellectual property and patent infringments, which threaten to slow innovation in the tech industry.

It's no secret that two of the attendees at the summit are currently at each other's throats in courts around the globe. Last month Apple successfully sued Samsung over patent infringement in the USA, and was awarded damages in the region of $1 billion. Most recently, Samsung filed a patent infringment suit against Apple over the iPhone 5's usage of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in its 4G mobile systems.