'Tis the season for patent agreements as Samsung announces news of its latest cross-licensing agreement, this time with networking technology specialist Cisco. This is just the latest in a round of patent licensing currently underway, which seems to suspiciously converge on a common cause.
As always, details of the patent cross-licensing are kept under a tight lid. The agreement is said to cover an unspecified range of patents on products and technologies, both currently existing ones and those that will be filed for the next 10 years. The companies, however, are unabashed in admitting that the move is motivated by a desire to protect themselves from potential patent litigation.
If all these sound familiar, it's because it has been the theme in patent business for the past days. Last week, Google and Samsung made a similar ten-year patent cross-licensing agreement, and the wording of that press release couldn't be more similar. And then just a couple of days ago, Google and Cisco also inked a patent deal, with the same theme of being free to innovate with no patent worries.
Although many in the IT industry, including Google and Cisco, have been calling for reforms to the now rather controversial patent system, these companies admit that the goal is a rather long-term one that might not see any immediate effect. In the meantime, they need to still protect themselves from patent lawsuits. Incidentally, Google, Samsung, and some of Cisco's big customers are currently the target of one such high-profile lawsuit coming from the Rockstar consortium, composed mostly of these companies' industry rivals.