The intellectual property disputes over patents for smartphones and smartphone accessories between Samsung and Apple have gone on for a significant portion of this year and are now spread across 10 countries. In the latest chapter in this ongoing legal battle, the European Union Commission has initiated an investigation into both companies' arguments, to determine whether or not the businesses broke any of the EU's anti-trust laws.

According to Reuters, various European markets have been a part of the legal debate bwetween Apple and Samsung. A court in the Netherlands dismissed one of Samsung's claims against Apple in October, and other European countries have passed similar rulings favoring one company or the other.

The news source reports that the EU released a statement clarifying the purpose of its inquiry on November 4.

"The European Commission has indeed sent requests for information to Apple and Samsung concerning the enforcement of standards-essential patents in the mobile telephone sector," the statement said. "Such requests for information are standard procedure in antitrust investigations."

If either company is found to have violated any of these regulations, the EU can issue a fine of up to 10 percent of the company's global revenue.

On November 3, the Los Angeles Times reported that prior to his passing, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had begun proceedings to sue Google for patent infringement based on alleged violations stemming from its Android mobile operating system.