Currently, Samsung and Apple are involved in multiple court conflicts over handset technology. Both Google and Samsung have contracted a universal patent cross-licensing agreement geared towards limiting “the potential for litigation” and improving modernisation.
This deal will cover “a broad range of technologies and business areas” which will apply to not only already existing patents but any filed over the next ten years as well. Samsung and Google already have a close-knit relationship, as Samsung uses Google’s operating system, Android, for its mobile devices.
Samsung has said that the deal is “highly significant for the technology industry” and has also announced that this deal significantly reduces the possibility that Google and Samsung will have to face each in court regarding intellectual property rights. It will also fortify their position against opponents, such as Apple, who has filed numerous proceedings worth billions of dollars for suspected patent violations.
“Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from co-operating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes,” stated head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Centre, Seungho Ahn.
Samsung is the largest smartphone creator and faces lawsuits from large global companies, like Apple in the US, as well as countries, like South Korea, over mobile technology patents. Apple asserts that Samsung has taken liberties with their best-selling Galaxy smartphones and copied the design from the iPhone. This patent dispute has continued on for a few years now and both chief executives of Apple and Samsung are planning to meet for conciliation in February.
Another high-profile case involving patent disputes is the Rockstar consortium – which includes Apple, Microsoft and Sony. They have sued Google as well as six other smartphone manufacturers that use the Android OS. Eight lawsuits were filed in the US involving Google’s mobile technologies and user-interface design. Google’s Moterola Mobility Unit, which owns a big patent collection, is also involved in a disagreement with Apple. In order to counter this, technology Goliaths have looked to raise their patent numbers, as well as sign contracts like the one announced by Google and Samsung.
Analysts say that these moves enforce strength by numbers. “The more patents you have the more protected you are from litigation,” says analyst Andrew Milroy who consults at Frost & Sullivan, “I’m not sure if the agreement means Samsung can use Google patents and vice-versa. But if they are collaborating it protects them from litigation, since the pair of them together is a stronger unit.”