Unova has resolved its patent dispute with Apple.

The Washington-based company sued Apple in early 2003 over "smart battery" technology. Apple countersued, claiming Unova was improperly using technology patented by Apple.

Smart battery technology is embedded in most wireless phones and portable computers. A processor chip communicates data so that the computer can monitor and regulate battery use. This allows rechargeable batteries in laptop computers to last longer between charges.

Unova claims to own the patent to this smart battery management technology. Apple is not the only company to have reached a settlement with Unova over this issue: ten other portable computer manufacturers have settled with Unova during the past six years.

Unova spokeswoman Kathie Jackson Anderson said: "We're pleased we've reached a resolution on these issues."

She added that all details of the resolution were confidential, including whether Unova received any payment.

Details of the settlement were not made public.