Samsung and Google buddy up to sign 10-year patent agreement

Samsung is probably sick of courtrooms by now

Samsung and Google have come together to sign a global patent cross-licensing agreement in a not-so-subtle shaking of fists towards Apple.

According to a statement posted online, the deal will cover both existing patents and any filed in the next 10 years (though it is unclear whether this covers everything or only patents related to Android). The deal represents a reduction in "the potential for litigation", allowing the two firms to "focus on innovation".

The cross-licensing deal brings together the second largest U.S. patent holder with the eleventh, creating a formidable portfolio. Seungho Ahn, head of Samsung's Intellectual Property Centre, called the deal "highly significant" for the technology industry.

Samsung and Google are closely tied as the main backers of the Android operating system, so a deal that brings the two companies closer together (akin to Microsoft and Intel) works to the benefit of both parties and, as a secondary product, the possible detriment of competitors.

No transfers

Unfortunately for Samsung, the deal doesn't allow the transfer of patent ownership, so the Korean firm cannot use Google's patents as a defence in litigation cases like its ongoing courtroom battle with Apple.

Samsung has been at loggerheads with rival company Apple since 2011. The two smartphone giants have been battling it out in a series of courtrooms across the globe, with the latest involving some of Samsung's newer smartphones.

"Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes," said Ahn, in a thinly-veiled dig at the firm's Cupertino-based rival.

Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed by either party.