A real life Romulan-Klingon alliance: Google, Samsung sign global patent pact

Companies have each other's back in the Great Patent Wars


Google and Samsung have strengthened their positions in the Great Patent Wars against Apple by signing a global cross-licensing deal with each other.

The Android buddies have agreed to license any and all current IP as well as any patents filed in the next 10 years with each other for undisclosed financial terms.

The firms said in a statement that the licence would lead to "deeper collaboration on research and development of current and future products and technologies", but it's also likely to strengthen their hands in court against Apple's iOS.

Neither Dr Seungho Ahn, head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Centre, nor Allen Lo, deputy general counsel for patents at Google, wasted the opportunity to have a dig at any firms looking to litigate on patents (hint, hint, Apple).

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

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

Google and Samsung weren't the only ones making nice on patents. Sammy also brought its long-running dispute with Ericsson to an end, signing a cross-licensing deal with the telecoms firm.

Ericsson announced that the two companies had reached agreement on patents relating to GSM, UMTS and LTE standards that would end lawsuits in Texas in the US and cases being considered by the International Trade Commission.

The firm added that the deal would involve royalty payments from Samsung as well as an initial handout. The lump sum alone is expected to impact fourth-quarter sales by 4.2bn Swedish crowns ($652m) and net income by $512m.

Ericsson has tens of thousands of standards-essential patents covering 2G, 3G and 4G networks, which it licenses under the FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.

"We are pleased that we could reach a mutually fair and reasonable agreement with Samsung. We always viewed litigation as a last resort," said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson. "This agreement allows us to continue to focus on bringing new technology to the global market and provides an incentive to other innovators to share their own ideas." ®

Trek-note

According to the terms of the R-K alliance, Klingons got cloaking ability from the Romulans, while Romulans got warp drive from Worf's people.


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