Google and Samsung have signed a “global patent cross-license agreement” that covers the companies’ existing patents and future ones over the next 10 years.
In a brief statement released Sunday, Google and Samsung said the agreement covers “a broad range of technologies and business areas” without going into specifics.
By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation, Allen Lo, Google’s deputy general counsel for patents, said in the statement.
Samsung, of course, has been locked in a variety of legal disputes over mobile patents with rival Apple for years. For example, in one of the lawsuits in the U.S., Samsung was ordered to pay about $930 million in damages to Apple last year.
Samsung smartphones and tablets loaded with Google’s Android OS compete directly against Apple’s iPhones and iPads, which run the company’s iOS operating software.
By gaining access to each other’s patent portfolios, Google and Samsung expect to engage in “deeper collaboration on research and development” of existing and future products and technologies.
Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes, said Dr. Seungho Ahn, head of Samsung's intellectual property center.