Samsung, Cisco sign patent pact

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.

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."