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Apple, Google CEOs Said to Discuss Patent Disputes

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Google Inc. CEO Larry Page are holding discussions regarding patent disputes involving the two leading technology companies, said a person with knowledge of the talks.

Cook and Page spoke by phone last week and are expected to talk more soon, said the person, who asked not to be named because the conversations aren’t public. The person didn’t elaborate on the details of the discussions.

Apple is embroiled in lawsuits with several makers of smartphones that use Google’s Android operating system. Apple last week won a $1.05 billion verdict from a California jury, which found that features of some of Samsung Electronics Co.’s Android-based phones infringed patents for the iPhone. Samsung’s stock tumbled the most in almost four years after the verdict.

Even though Apple hasn’t sued Google directly, the iPhone maker’s patent lawsuits against Samsung and HTC Corp. have targeted features from Android. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that Android was a “stolen product.”

Apple considered suing Google directly before filing its first smartphone patent-infringement suit against HTC in 2010, according to a person close to Apple’s legal team.

Apple decided against it after determining that going after the manufacturers of rival smartphones would be a better strategy than building a case against Google, this person said. The Android developer, also owner of the most popular Internet-search engine, gives the mobile operating system away for free to handset makers in exchange for advertising revenue.

Motorola Mobility

Motorola Mobility, a smartphone maker that Google acquired in May, filed a patent-infringement complaint against Apple earlier this month. In the complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, Motorola Mobility accuses Apple of infringing seven patents, including one related to Apple’s Siri voice-recognition feature.

Reuters reported the talks between Apple and Google earlier. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment, as did Niki Fenwick, a spokeswoman for Google.

After last week’s jury verdict, Apple has requested a permanent ban on U.S. sales of eight models of Samsung smartphones that run Android. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will consider the ban at a Dec. 6 court hearing.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, fell 1.4 percent to $663.87 at the close in New York. The stock has risen 64 percent this year. Google, based in Mountain View, California, fell 0.9 percent to $681.68, and has gained 5.5 percent this year.

On the first day of trading after the California patent verdict was announced, Samsung’s stock plunged 7.5 percent, wiping out more than $12 billion in market value. Apple’s climbed as much as 2.7 percent.

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