Samsung and Google's lawyers have been busy bees over the weekend. Now the two companies have announced a global patent license agreement that will extend 10 years into the future in the hopes of fostering innovation and perhaps to also shield themselves from patent litigation.
Buying patents and making patent agreements are already familiar ways companies can protect themselves against the patent portfolio of rival companies. And perhaps no other company needs such protection right now than both Samsung and Google. Both companies have been the target of patent lawsuits, both jointly and individually, which seem to be escalating recently.
Perhaps the most prolific patent litigation that Samsung has been and continues to be involved in is the one brought upon it by Apple. Although one chapter of that saga has been closed with Apple emerging victorious, it is far from over and the two will meet again in court in March should the mediation session scheduled next month fail. Google is also in hot water as it has been named as one of the defendants in a lawsuit brought by the Rockstar consortium. Interestingly, other defendants in that lawsuit include Samsung and other Android device manufacturers.
It not hard to imagine that Google and Samsung are trying to get their patent ducks in a row to strengthen each other's portfolios. Of course, the official press release points to this move a way to help them focus on innovation instead of expending resources in courts and legal fees. After all, it's easier to come up with new ideas and products when you don't have the threat of patent suits breathing down your neck.
The details of the actual patents involved are a bit murky at this point, save that they cover a broad range of technologies and business areas, we can probably safely assume that a good number of these would be related to mobile devices and Android. The coverage of the patent agreement is also quite exhaustive, including both companies' existing patents as well as those that will be filed for the next 10 years.