Intellectual property law is frequently an area for technology super-powers to trade blows, but recently Google has taken a different tack with its patents, using them as an opportunity to cooperate with other major players. After striking a deal cross-licensing deal with Samsung in January and taking measures to insert patent provisions in its sale of Motorola last week, the tech giant is revealing a new deal with Cisco this week.
The pact will cover the patent portfolios of both companies, preventing either side from using them as the basis for a suit. While neither company is likely to sell patents to non-practicing entities, verbiage in the agreement protects both sides from suit in that case as well.
Both sides aim to benefit from this agreement by reducing the number of suits they could potentially file against one another while taking the teeth out of troll-like activity in the future.
“This is a better solution to the privateering that we are seeing,” said Allen Lo, Google’s deputy general counsel in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Just as with the deal it made with Samsung, the pertinent financials of the deals have not been revealed by either side. Lo also indicated that the cross-licensing strategy would be one that Google will pursue with other technology companies.
With patent troll activity increasingly rising in the U.S., approaches like this that make an explicit attempt to benefit two sides while weakening the arsenal of NPEs may become more common. This is happening in tandem with increasing focus on patent regulation at the federal level, as well as action from attorneys general in several states.
For more on patent law, check out these stories: