Google and Samsung reach 10-year patent cross-license agreement

By Graeme Burton
27 Jan 2014 View Comments

Google and Samsung have signed a 10-year patent cross-license agreement covering both existing patents and patents that will be filed during the course of the next decade. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal will enable both companies to focus on the intellectual property lawsuits they face from rival Apple over the Android operating system, and will include the treasure chest of patents that Google acquired when it bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn in 2012.

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"By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation," said Allen Lo, deputy general counsel for patents at Google.

"This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry," said Dr Seungho Ahn, 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."

In addition to Apple, both companies also face patent litigation lawsuits from the Rockstar consortium, a patent protection consortium wielding intellectual property acquired from bankrupt Nortel.

While Samsung is the world's biggest vendor of Android smartphones, it has also sought to develop its own smartphone operating systems, in particular Tizen with Intel. At the same time, because of Samsung's dominance of the Android hardware market, much of the traffic to Google's Play store - from where Google makes its money from Android - comes from Samsung devices.

This is no doubt a revenue stream that Google doesn't want to risk losing.

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