Google and Samsung go together like peanut butter and jelly -- at least in the mobile device world. Now, the companies are making their synergistic relationship even stickier with a new patent deal.
The handset maker and the Android author are going deeper with their long-term cooperative partnership with a global patent cross-license agreement. According to the companies, the agreement covers a “broad range of technologies and business areas.”
“We’re pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner Samsung,” said Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google. “By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation.”
An Industry Lesson
Samsung and Google described it as a “mutually beneficial agreement” that covers both company’s existing patents as well as those filed over the next 10 years.
With this agreement, Samsung and Google gain access to each other’s patent portfolios. That opens opportunities for deeper collaboration on research and development of current and future products and technologies.
“This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry,” said Seungho Ahn, the Head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center. “Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes.”
What Took So Long?
We caught up with Carl Howe, vice president of Research and Data Sciences at Yankee Group, to get his thoughts on the patent deal and what it means for greater Google-Samsung collaboration. He told us he’s surprised such an agreement wasn't already in place.
“Samsung has been the lead seller of Android devices and as such, is a pretty substantial Google partner,” Howe said. “This agreement means the two companies won't be suing each other over patents that would distract them from advancing the overall Android platform.”
Howe’s bottom line: He doesn't think this agreement really affects anyone except the two companies involved.
“We shouldn't forget that Apple and Google were fast friends before Steve Jobs declared thermonuclear war on Google,” he concluded. “I don't think Google wants that to happen a second time; this is the Google-Samsung mutually-assured, non-destruction pact to avoid that happening.”
Apple-Samsung Feud Continues
Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung continue to battle over patents. The next trial is looming in a San Jose, Calif. court in March but Apple and Samsung are once again heading to mediation to work out their respective patent disputes on the smartphone technology front.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in November requested that the companies take part in a settlement discussion before the trial, according to Bloomberg, and the companies reportedly met on Jan. 6 to discuss opportunities to bring the case to a close without stepping foot back in a courtroom.
Unfortunately, if the two parties are far apart the mediator can’t resolve it,” Rob Enderle, a principal analyst at The Enderle Group, told us. “The mediator has to find middle ground -- a place where both companies overlap and where the companies accept what the mediator says.”