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An Apple iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy S are seen in this file illustration photograph taken in Berlin August 27, 2012.PAWEL KOPCZYNSKI/Reuters

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said on Tuesday it would withdraw a lawsuit against Apple Inc.'s use of its technology in Europe, a sign of reduced tension in the global patent war between the two companies.

A senior executive at the South Korean company told the Financial Times that they were dropping all requests to force Apple to remove its products from shelves across retail stores in Europe, including the UK, France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

"Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court," Samsung said.

"Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice," the Seoul-based company added.

The world's two biggest technology groups have been at the centre of a long-running battle that has placed renewed focus on intellectual property and the rise of patent litigation within the more than $200-billion (U.S.) smartphone industry.

A California judge overseeing the US case between Apple and Samsung on Monday denied Samsung's motion for a new trial and rejected Apple's request to ban 26 devices which a jury found infringed its patents.

Samsung's move is likely to be welcomed by Europe's antitrust watchdog, which has been probing the increasingly aggressive tactics used in the legal battle between the two companies around the intellectual property agreements that underpin the smartphone technology market.

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