Cisco and Samsung have agreed a patent pact which is effective immediately, allowing both firms access to each other’s patent war chests, and helping to defend themselves against potential future litigation.
The agreement is far reaching, and takes all the existing patents of both companies into account, along with everything that is filed in the next decade. As you can imagine, both of these patent libraries have some breadth and depth, and cover a wide range of products and technology.
These sort of defensive patent deals are becoming more common, as a reaction to the amount of litigation that has been flying around the tech industry in the past few years. Nobody wants to be constantly looking over their shoulder when they’re developing a new product, and worrying about possible legal issues rather than the technical and design concerns which should be paramount.
Dan Lang, Cisco's Vice President of Intellectual Property, said: “Innovation is stifled all too often in today’s overly-litigious environment. By cross-licensing our patent portfolios, Cisco and Samsung are taking important steps to reverse the trend and advance innovation and freedom of operation.”
Samsung also recently signed a cross-licensing deal with Google, again covering existing patents and those garnered in the next ten years. That may have been part of a move by Google to placate Samsung in general, with the latter making moves to develop its own OS, Tizen, seemingly in order to throw off the shackles of Android.
At any rate, expect more scribbled signatures on deals like these to come, as more companies start singing from the innovation-not-litigation hymn sheet.