Business in brief: Apple iPhone | Vimto

APPLE does not use patented technology owned by Google unit Motorola Mobility in making its iPhones, a United States appeals court said yesterday.

The court of appeals for the federal circuit upheld a decision by the International Trade Commission in April that Apple did not violate a Google patent to make the popular iPhones.

The smartphone industry has seen dozens of lawsuits on several continents as Apple vies for market share with companies that make smartphones that use Google’s Android software.

Green light given for student flats

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COUNCILLORS in Fife have given the go-ahead for Alumno Developments to build student flats in St Andrews.

The London-based company, which is backed by New York-based private equity firm Safeharbor Capital Partners, will build a 135-bedroom development on the site of the Wonder Years Nursery at the town’s East Sands beach area.

David Campbell, Alumno’s managing director, said that he expected to start work on the site within the next two months, with a view to completing the development in the summer of 2016, ready for the 2016-17 academic year.

OFT chief leaving to join Dept of Energy

CLIVE Maxwell is stepping down as chief executive of the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) to join the Department of Energy & Climate Change (Decc).

The former Treasury official has led the consumer watchdog since July 2012 and will be replaced by executive director Vivienne Dews when he takes up his new role as Decc’s director-general for consumers and households next month.

Dews will oversee the OFT’s transformation into the Competition and Markets Authority and the transfer of credit regulation to the Financial Conduct Authority.

Warm summer lifts sales at Vimto firm

SOFT drinks maker Nichols has enjoyed better-than-expected sales growth for the full year after the good summer weather helped to drive a robust performance in the second half.

The Aim-quoted owner of the Vimto brand said sales for the year to December would grow 2 per cent to about £109.9 million, ahead of City forecasts of £108m, despite heavy discounting in the fizzy drinks market.

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Analysts at Shore Capital expect pre-tax profits of £22.2m, up from £20.5m a year earlier, and Nichols said: “We are well positioned to maintain our performance into 2014.”