Samsung, Cisco sign patent pact

Samsung, Cisco sign patent pact

Summary: Korean electronics giant inks a cross-licensing agreement with Cisco Systems to avoid legal tussles over technology patents, giving each company use of the other's existing and future patent portfolio.

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Samsung Electronics has inked a 10-year patent agreement with Cisco Systems as it looks to avoid potential litigation. This is its third such deal in a month, following last month's pact with Google and Ericsson.

Effectively immediately, the cross-license deal gives the two companies access to the other's patent portfolios covering a broad range of products and technologies, Cisco said in a statement. The pact includes existing patents as well as those filed over the next 10 years.  

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."

With the agreement, both companies hope to reduce litigation risks and redirect focus on innovation for future technology, Cisco said. No financial details were revealed. 

This week's pact is Samsung's third in a month, following its earlier agreement with Google and Ericsson, effectively ending a series of patent disputes with the latter which began in 2012. 

Reiterating the aim to mitigate litigation risks in its agreement with Google, head of Samsung's intellectual property center, Seungho Ahn, said in a blog post: "Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes."

The South Korean electronics giant has been embroiled in several patent lawsuits with rival Apple, during which juries had awarded the iPhone maker US$930 million. Last month, both companies agreed to participate in a mediation session ahead of a court appointment scheduled for March. 

Meanwhile, Samsung is said to be tweaking its strategy amid the patent disputes, focusing more attention on software as well as developing and launching more new and diversified products. Yoon Boo-keun, president of Samsung's s consumer electronics division told Korean reporters: "Becoming a software-driven company is the main initiative. We will raise the quality of our products and services by pressing further for software, design, and solutions."

Topics: Patents, Cisco, Networking, Samsung

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • Good news and bad news

    A shame that these companies have to effectively sidestep patent law, just because companies are inherently compelled to exploit patent law. Clever work on Samsung and others' part, but how big a company do you have to be for this to be a viable solution? Patent law (and other IP laws) need to be revisited. We are at a point in human civilisation where innovation and progress continues to accelerate thanks to the advent of technologies that enable that innovation, and the rate of change is increasing, but it is being held back by IP laws.
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