Call it the perfect triangle of patent agreements. First, Google and Samsung signed a cross-licensing agreement, applicable for the next 10 years. Then, Google and Cisco signed their own cross-licensing agreement, aiming to reduce lawsuits between the two companies.
And now, the triangle is complete: On Feb. 5, Samsung and Cisco signed a cross-licensing agreement of their own with the intention of guarding against future patent litigation. Similar to the Google and Samsung agreement, this partnership will last for the next 10 years and will include both existing patent portfolios as well as all patents filed over the course of the agreement.
“By cross-licensing our patent portfolios, Cisco and Samsung are taking important steps to reverse the trend and advance innovation and freedom of operation,” said Dan Lang, vice president for Cisco's intellectual property, in a joint statement released by the two companies.
These types of cross-licensing agreements are becoming more prevalent as patent litigation, especially in the technology sector, rises. And of the companies engaging in this type of agreement, Samsung and Cisco have been among the most active due to the companies’ shared wish to cut back on patent litigation.
Samsung has gone back and forth with Apple in court on multiple patent-related issues, and unless the EU’s opinion spreads to the U.S., the two sides don’t seem to be stopping their court battles any time soon. As a result, Samsung has attempted to cut down on court battles against other companies. The smartphone maker closed a string of suits against Ericsson, the world’s largest maker of wireless network technology, in January, ending litigation that had persisted since 2012.
While Cisco may not have the patent litigation battle resume of its new cross-licensing partner, the idea of limiting patent litigation has taken root at the technology company. Cisco has been a vocal proponent of the Goodlatte Bill, which attempts to cut down on patent litigation from non-practicing entities through fee shifting, making its way through Congress.
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