A customer visits the Apple Store in New York City's Grand Central Station
A customer visits the Apple Store in New York City's Grand Central Station REUTERS

Apple Inc. has requested European Union antitrust regulators to step in and settle a technology patent dispute between the company and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., according to Motorola Mobility.

The move came after regulators on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean said they would intervene to prevent companies from gouging rivals when they license patents essential to ensuring different communications devices work together.

On February 17, 2012, the company received a letter from the European Commission notifying it that the commission has received a complaint against Motorola Mobility Inc. by Apple Inc. regarding the enforcement of MMI's standards-essential patents against Apple allegedly in breach of MMI's FRAND (fair and reasonable) commitments, Motorola Mobility said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Apple's complaint seeks the commission's intervention with respect to standards-essential patents, it said.

Motorola Mobility, winner of a preliminary injunction against Apple in Germany last December, accused the iPhone maker of infringing its technology patents in a Florida court last month.

Last week, Google Inc. secured EU and U.S. approval to acquire Motorola Mobility for its portfolio of patents. The deal still needs clearance from regulators in China, Taiwan, and Israel.

The European Commission, which oversees competition matters across the 27-country European Union, is now investigating whether legal tactics used by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. against Apple breaches EU antitrust rules.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Susan Fenton)