Samsung and Google have just struck up an agreement to access each other's patents portfolio for quite a long period of time. Aside from the usual PR about innovation, this license agreement can pretty much be both companies' defense against future patent lawsuits against them.
No other details have been divulged about the set of patents covered by the agreement except that they span a broad range of technologies and business areas. It doesn't take much imagination to think these would revolve around mobile technology used in smartphones, tablets, and Android. The patent agreement coverage also extends far into time, including existing patents as well as those that will be filed over coming 10 years.
Such a licensing agreement is usually advertised as a tool for innovation. Indeed, recent events have shown how patents have been brandish to stifle rather than promote innovation as originally intended by the patent system. In their official statements, both Google and Samsung note that this is a better use of resources than engaging in unnecessary patent lawsuits. And who better to know about that than these two.
Aside from Samsung's ongoing dance with Apple, both Google and Samsung have also been sued by Rockstar, a consortium largely made up of industry rivals such as Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, and Sony. Defendants in this patent suit also include other Android manufacturers like Huawei and HTC. Google has been trying to fight back with its own lawsuit, but a patent agreement might be its next best bet.