Samsung And Google Bury The Apple Hatchet, Sign 10-Year Patent Agreement

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Some breaking news in the patent world. Samsung, the world’s biggest handset maker, has announced that it has signed a 10-year patent deal with Google, the maker of Android, the world’s biggest mobile operating system, covering all current and future technology patents.

There are a few key reasons why this is an important piece of news:

First, the deal will bolster both Samsung and Google’s patent positions against patent infringement allegations and subsequent litigation from competitors, and specifically Apple, which has been involved in acrimonious, multinational patent battles worth billions of dollars against Samsung for years now, over Samsung’s Android-powered range of Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Second, it is a sign of how Google continues to put the patents it gained from its $12.5 billion Motorola acquisition to good use across the Android ecosystem. The ecosystem part is key here. I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see deals like this one appear with other OEMs.

Third, it makes clear that even if Samsung potentially starts to look at ways of breaking away from Android for more control of a mobile platform of its own (something it is rumored to be planning) it will continue to coooperate with Google.

The tone of the short statement from Samsung and Google, which does not outline the financial terms of the agreement, is one of make-tech-love-not-war.

“This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry,” said Dr. Seungho Ahn, the Head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center, in a statement. “Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Google, too.

“We’re pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner Samsung,” said Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google, said in the statement. “By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation.”

In addition to Google, Samsung now has deals in place with Microsoft, Nokia and Intellectual Ventures.

Full statement below.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Google Inc. today furthered their long-term cooperative partnership with a global patent cross-license agreement covering a broad range of technologies and business areas. The mutually beneficial agreement covers the two companies’ existing patents as well as those filed over the next 10 years.

“We’re pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner Samsung,” said Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google. “By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation.”

With this agreement, Samsung and Google gain access to each other’s industry-leading patent portfolios, paving the way for deeper collaboration on research and development of current and future products and technologies.

“This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry,” said Dr. Seungho Ahn, the Head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center. “Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes.”