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Why Did Apple, Microsoft, and Google Meet in Geneva?

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The meeting resulted in no permanent agreements.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent lawsuit battle with Samsung (KRX:005930) has made the news again. Reuters reported that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today overturned the temporary injunction on the sales of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone. The court said that the district court in California "abused its discretion in entering an injunction," sending the case back to a lower California court for reconsideration.

Leaders in the industry are becoming worried that the patent battles have gotten out of hand. Erich Schmidt, Chairman of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), talked with AllThingsD last night about the recent technology patent battles. He pointed out that due to the patent wars "[p]rices are dropping rapidly," saying that it is "a wonderful value proposition."

So what's the problem?

Schmidt believes that it kills innovation. There are 200,000 patents in the software industry, and smaller companies do not have the resources to protect their designs.

A Ceasefire?

Like countries trying to ratify a peace treaty, major tech companies sent representatives to Geneva, Switzerland, for a summit hosted yesterday by the United Nations International Telecommunications Unit, or ITU. Companies that attended included Apple, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google, Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Samsung, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Panasonic (NYSE:PC), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM). The US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission also attended. (You can view the ITU's website here.)

According to The Guardian, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré echoed Schmidt's beliefs, saying, "We are seeing an unwelcome trend in today's marketplace to use standards-essential patents to block markets. There needs to be an urgent review of this situation: Patents are meant to encourage innovation, not stifle it."
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