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Samsung and Google reach landmark patent accord

Ericsson is along for the ride
Mon Jan 27 2014, 10:58
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KOREAN ELECTRONICS GIANT Samsung has signed two agreements in an attempt to stem the patents war.

Reuters reported that Samsung has signed a landmark patent sharing agreement with Google, the owner of the Android mobile operating system, which will see the two firms working together for the next 10 years and pooling resources without the risk of litigation.

Although Samsung and Google have not been in patents litigation with each other, this deal covers all existing patents and any new ones granted during the life of the agreement, and will strengthen their positions against less amiable rivals as well as allowing them to develop new ideas together rather than separately.

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

Seungho Ahn, head of Samsung's intellectual property centre, said the agreement shows "the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes".

In a separate move, Swedish telecoms company Ericsson has agreed with Samsung to end all patents litigation and enter into a sharing agreement, for which Samsung will pay an initial lump sum followed by ongoing royalties.

"We are pleased that we could reach a mutually fair and reasonable agreement with Samsung. We always viewed litigation as a last resort," said Ericsson chief intellectual property officer Kasim Alfalahi. "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."

The Ericsson deal refers to "Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) principles for the benefit of the industry". If the patents war has been the mobile phone industry's cold war, these agreements appear to be the start of a defrosting in relations, somewhat like the fall of the Berlin Wall.

However, neither of these agreements is likely to affect the ongoing patents disputes between Samsung and Apple. µ


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