The world's biggest tech firms are preparing to meet at the UN in Geneva to discuss the so-called 'patent wars' which have seen an onslaught of lawsuits in recent months.

Companies including Samsung, Google and Apple, as well as patent lawyers, regulators and academics will be present at the meeting.

Top of the agenda is whether intellectual property disputes are harming innovation.

Discussions will also focus on "reducing the tensions between the standard, patent and competition law systems".

The ultimate aim is to ensure that critical patents are able to be licensed for a fair fee, so as not to impede innovation.

Microsoft and Apple are among those who have argued for a change in regulations, which would stop products being blocked if they lack licenses for standard-essential technologies. Nokia is one company who have resisted that proposal, arguing "here are situations were injunctions against unwilling licensees are a necessary remedy for intellectual property rights holders".

pic desk blog

The programme for the meeting says that the day will end with a "brainstorm" on possible compromises to the issues - though it might seem unlikely that new ground will be broken.

Other companies represented at the meeting including Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, Orange, Panasonic, Phillips, Research In Motion and Qualcomm.

The talks, organised by the International Telecommunication Union, come weeks after a key decision by a California court to award Apple more than $1bn in damages from Samsung after it was found to have copied the look and feel of elements of iOS.

But predictably the dispute has not ended there, and Samsung has recently added the iPhone 5 to its own lawsuit which claims Apple has infringed its own patents, including those which cover syncing music and video across multiple devices and capturing video and sending it online.

Meanwhile Samsung and Google's Motorola are being investigated by EU officials after claims they abused their patents to "distort" the marketplace.