Cisco, Google enter into global patent agreement

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Feb 6, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) -- This week, worldwide IT leader Cisco and Google, the search engine giant, entered into a long-term patent cross-licensing agreement.

The companies made the announcement Tuesday.

The agreement, they said, will cover a "broad range" of products and technologies, allows each company to extract "significant value" from its patent portfolio through a license to the other's portfolio and helps reduce the risk of future litigation.

In particular, it "stands in direct contrast" to actions such as patent privateering or the transfer of patents to patent assertion entities -- otherwise referred to as "patent trolls" -- that end up harming consumers, the companies said.

"In today's overly-litigious environment, cross-licensing is an effective way for technology companies to work together and help prevent unnecessary patent lawsuits," said Dan Lang, Cisco's vice president of intellectual property.

"This agreement is an important step in promoting innovation and ensuring freedom of operation."

Allen Lo, Google's deputy general counsel for patents, agreed.

"Our agreement with Cisco will reduce the potential for litigation, letting us focus instead on building great new products," he said, adding that the company welcomes discussions with any company interested in a similar agreement.

Both Cisco and Google are members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness, a group in favor of patent reform.

Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler has pledged not to sell patents to PAEs in order to help encourage innovation rather than litigation.

On Wednesday, Cisco announced it has entered into a similar cross-licensing agreement with Samsung Electronics Co.

The mutually beneficial agreement covers the two companies' existing patents and those filed over the next 10 years.

"We look forward to working with Cisco," said Dr. Seungho Ahn, the head of Samsung's intellectual property center.

"We expect this agreement to result in mutual growth and, ultimately, for the benefit of both companies' customers across the world."

Cisco's agreement with Samsung mirrors a deal Google reached with Samsung late last month.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

More News

The Record Network