Google and Samsung made big waves on Sunday in the incredibly competitive mobile industry. In an industry dominated by patent litigation Google and Samsung announced that they have entered into a ten-year cross-licensing agreement involving their respective patent portfolios.
The two companies control tens of thousands of patents spanning many different technologies and businesses, the deal will further their “long-term cooperative partnership” according to a company statement.
This agreement comes more than two years after Samsung signed a cross license deal with Microsoft, at the time seen as a stab at Google. Samsung and Google have long been partners with their Android smartphone collaboration, they have not had a formal intellectual property deal until now.
Samsung’s Allen Lo offered a statement about the announcement, “By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation,” this statement can be seen as a blow against Apple and Microsoft which have been taking part in a controversial practice known as “privateering.” This practice involves large companies equipping small shell companies with old patents, these shell companies remain immune from lawsuits because they have limited or no assets. They then demand money from productive companies using their old patents, engaging in a growing storm of litigation lawsuits.
“Privateering lets a company split its patent portfolio into smaller sub-portfolios “stacked” on each other, increasing the number of entities a firm must negotiate with and multiplying licensing costs. This behavior unfairly raises competitors’ costs, ultimately driving up prices for consumers,” said a Google spokesperson.
The agreement covers all current patents and all future patents made in the next ten years, the announcement did not offer an exact number of patents covered under this deal.
Written by: Sam Watkinson