Global Telecoms Giants Samsung, Google Forge Patent Deal, What Now Apple?

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Global telecoms giants Samsung and Google has forged a 10-year cross-licensing deal on technology patents, which includes the existing ones as well as those filed within the term period.

Samsung made the announcement on Monday. It declined to provide details of the arrangement, including financial terms.

The collaboration, according to Allen Lo, Google's deputy general counsel for patents, in a written statement, enables both to "focus on innovation (while) reducing the potential for litigation."

Google's Android operating system powers most of Samsung's smartphones. With the deal, development of the Android ecosystem is expected to be further boosted.

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"This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry," Dr Seungho Ahn, head of Samsung's Intellectual Property Center, said. "Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes."

The deal will cover other product categories between the two telecoms giants, not just Android and mobile.

"The mobile market right now is growing way beyond smartphones and tablets," Malik Saadi, practice director at ABI research, said.

Samsung has been engaged in a series of legal disputes over mobile technology patent with Apple. Just recently, the Korean company had been ordered to pay the American telecoms giant US$930 million in damages for patent infringement.

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"Samsung and Google own a lot of patents, but they haven't been able to gain much leverage from those patents against Apple, Microsoft and others," Florian Mueller, an intellectual-property consultant in Germany who specialises in software patents, wrote on his blog.

According to data from IFI Claims Patent Services, Samsung received 4,676 U.S. patents in 2013, while Google got 1,851 patents.

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