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Google and Samsung Sign Global Patent Deal 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-agree-to-agree dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google and Samsung have signed a global patent cross-licensing agreement aimed at reducing 'the potential for litigation' and enhancing innovation. The deal will cover 'a broad range of technologies and business areas' and apply to both existing patents and any filed over the next decade. The move is also expected to strengthen their position against rivals such as Apple, which has filed multiple lawsuits worth billions of dollars for alleged patent infringements."
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Google and Samsung Sign Global Patent Deal

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  • 1 edge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:10AM (#46081117) Homepage Journal

    So we have a broken patent system with thousands of broken abusive nodes(companies with dumb patents), and millions of broken abusive edges(suing each other).

    But good news, everyone! We removed one edge from the graph, and everything's better now. We're treating the symptoms and not the disease.

    • Re:1 edge (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JavaBear (9872) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:21PM (#46082011)

      MAD

      As in mutually assured destruction. I hate it, and I hate the need for it, but if Google/Samsung etc. don't build a portfolio of essential patents, litigious bastards, like Apple and other patent trolls, will steam-roll them in the courts.

      • Re:1 edge (Score:4, Informative)

        by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:45PM (#46082339)
        Interesting how your opinion forgets that Samsung has been trying to stop Apple from selling iPhones. Samsung has actually been threatened by the EU with a fine of up to thirteen billion dollars if they continue patent trolling against Apple and others.
        • by JavaBear (9872)

          Remember: MAD.

          Apple does it, and like it or not (most likely not) Samsung have to do it to protect themselves. And yes, I'm aware that they are all litigious bastards. Apple just seems to be the worst, with the least substantial patents.

        • Samsung hasn't been "patent trolling", it's been asking Apple to pay for its FRAND patents, and Apple's been refusing because it doesn't like the terms.

          The EU's response has been dubious at best.

          {{prose|date=February 2013}}
          The '''smartphone wars''' or '''smartphone patents licensing and litigation''' is an ongoing business battle by [[smartphone]] manufacturers including [[Sony]], [[Google]], [[Apple Inc.]], [[Samsung]], [[Microsoft]], [[Nokia]], [[Motorola]], and [[HTC]], among others, in [[Patent inf

      • The problem with MAD is that it applies between the big guys to keep their sovereign position over the small guys.

    • Who is "we?" Were you expecting google and samsung to team up to fix IP globally? Of course they're going to remove that one edge from the graph: that's one that they deal with and can fix.

      "Hey, fuck you Mr. Politician! You fixed ONE problem in your ONE country! Not EVERY PROBLEM IN THE WORLD SIMULTANEOUSLY!!!"

      (That joke would be better if I could give an example of a politician who fixed anything)
    • Companies do this all the time.
      In some ways it is around to fix a broken system, where there is too many patents for silly things, that really shouldn't be patented.
      But also it is just an affordable way to partner with a company with a mutual befitting self interests.
      Samsung (A really large device manufacture) and Google (Maker of the OS which these devices run off of), have a common competitor of Apple. So now they have in essence increased their R&D without having to pay more for it.

    • Ironic how governments' failure to fix patent systems is forcing companies to the point they have to cross-license to reduce patent troll liabilities.

      If everyone cross-licenses with almost everyone else, it would end up almost as if patents did not exist beyond the purpose of crediting the initial inventor(s). I imagine this would make the patent trolls' lives much more difficult due to the high probability of similar, related or prerequisite patents in those extended patent pools.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:12AM (#46081129)

    So these megacorps can freely use each other's overbroad patents-of-vague-concepts, but any time an independent inventor tries to get a business off the ground, he will be litigated into oblivion.

    Patents do not foster innovation, they protect the wealthy from it.

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:20AM (#46081215)

      I'm not sure about Samsung, but find me an instance of Google suing someone without being sued first, and no Motorola before Google bought them does not count. Google has not been a patent dick.

      There are also some open patent pools that will also help stop the abuses of ... certain companies. Of course, the laws really need to be changed. No software patents, FRAND charges defining 'reasonable' in dollars or percentages, etc.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:29AM (#46081327) Homepage Journal

        but find me an instance of Google suing someone without being sued first

        So, as long as they've ever been sued by someone, then it's OK for Google to sue over a different overbroad patent?

        This isn't the playground, where "He hit me first!" has any meaning.

        Google certainly has the means to defend itself from infringement suits, and by filing it's own suits on different patents, instead of just mounting a defense, they're participating in making the problem worse.

        • Or perhaps it is a "taste of one's own medicine" treatment?
        • by Bengie (1121981)
          It's the only way to survive. It's like saying "It's not right to kill someone even if you life depends on it because they're attacking you"
          • I'd remind you that that is the ethical position of everyone who is actually a pacifist. Some belief systems come to that conclusion.

            • by Bengie (1121981)
              I find that logic faulty as I must kill plants in order to survive. Heck, I have to kill bacteria. Without killing, I myself would die on a daily basis. The logic should apply at all levels, which it does not. I do value sentient beings in general, so obviously humans, but also the possibility of aliens, computer AIs, and I currently think dolphins and some whales may be smart enough to fall into the category.

              I also think that allowing someone to do something is no different than doing it yourself, assumi
        • by Chas (5144) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:12PM (#46081857) Homepage Journal

          Unfortunately "Stop it! Just stop it!" doesn't work.
          The amounts of money involved here are significant enough that simply brushing them off by flat-out winning a court case isn't enough to deter them from trying again, and again and again:

          Pretty much the only thing keeping some of these lawsuits at bay are:

          A: Massive patent portfolios that can be trotted out, invalidating patent claims, thus costing them money.
          B: The threat of being punitively counter-sued based on above-mentioned patent portfolios, thus costing them more money.
          C: The possibility of losing one of these counter-suits, possibly bankrupting them, or at least detrimentally disrupting their cash flow.

          Would it be EASIER if these companies didn't need to build up monster war chests of patents?
          Sure!

          In our current legal climate, would it be SMARTER if they didn't?
          No fucking way in hell!

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:43PM (#46082321) Homepage

          So, as long as they've ever been sued by someone, then it's OK for Google to sue over a different overbroad patent?

          That's how patent law works in the US. Both sides show that the other was violating their patents and then the judge tells them to settle their differences out of court. Either that or the aggressor realizes that they stand to lose big time and backs down. It's unfortunately but it's how the game is played, and Google has no choice but to participate.

          I'm interested to know what over-broad patents you are referring to, BTW. They certainly don't seem to use anything like the rounded corners nonsense or "on a computer" shenanigans in court.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          This isn't the playground, where "He hit me first!" has any meaning.

          Like the cops wouldn't care who started the fight.if two adults were in a fight. One is called assault, the other self defense. If you can't dodge or block, hitting back is absolutely a fair option. And this is more like sports than a fight, if you can't keep a tight defense score more points on the offense instead.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            If you can't dodge or block, hitting back is absolutely a fair option.

            That's my point. When it comes to the legal system, Google is singularly well-equipped to dodge and block. Their lawyers could fight the patent trolls in court and set precedents that might start rolling back this insane intellectual property racket.

            Instead, they just sue back using the same tactics, raising the stakes and creating another legal arms race. So the problem gets worse.

            Google may be the only company in a position to do th

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        They haven't done it directly as far as I'm aware, but they've essentially done so by proxy [arstechnica.com]. I think they're the only company that's figured out that they won't make any money even if they do successfully sue someone as the lawyers will eat away most of whatever award they would receive and the case would still be tied up in appeals for years and years to eat away whatever's left.
    • by alen (225700)

      if you want to make your own smartphone you already have to license lots of patents controlled by the standards bodies

      anything else you just have to design your own antenna, phone frame and dozens of other parts of the phone yourself and patent it yourself

    • So these megacorps can freely use each other's overbroad patents-of-vague-concepts, but any time an independent inventor tries to get a business off the ground, he will be litigated into oblivion.

      Nonsense. First you wait for your competitor to buy out the small independent inventor. Then you sue into oblivion. You'll never make any money litigating people that can't afford the kind of damages you need to claim to pay for your lawsuits.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Patent law is where trolls go to make careers pretending to be actual lawyers.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:19AM (#46081209)

    Wonder how much this has to do with this morning's 2% drop in stock price? I'd think this would be reducing uncertainty, tending to drive the price up...

  • What about Asus and others? If the deal is against Apple then it should be between everyone not just Samsung and Google.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      What about Asus and others? If the deal is against Apple then it should be between everyone not just Samsung and Google.

      Alas, Samsung's the only big player in the Android space, with roughly 90% of Android marketshare. (Though, most of that is NOT of the high end devices - which make up around 10% of Android sales as a whole.). Samsung makes dozens of phones, practically releasing a new variant or other daily.

      And you can bet that it's also a pre-emptive move by Google to prevent Samsung from releasing non-G [arstechnica.com]

  • This basically allows Samsung to commoditize everything Google is doing over the next 10 years. Does Google care about or need Samsung's patents? For the most part, not particularly, since Google isn't interested in manufacturing.

    However, Samsung is interested in everything Google does, now, anything that Google has patented, or will patent, is now available to be productionized. Including anything coming out of Google X.

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday January 27, 2014 @11:42AM (#46081477)

      For the most part, not particularly, since Google isn't interested in manufacturing.

      Except for Motorola, Nest, and who knows how many other branches and acquisitions. Google may have not been involved much with manufacturing in the past, but the future seems more so.

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        Oh, so all the current Android manufacturers have more to worry about? That'd go over really well.

        Future manufacturers of things that use Google will have to worry about competing with Google itself? Don't think they'd like that.

        And manufacturing goes away from organizing the world's data.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Well, I think they're only interested in it in order to use the platform as a means to push Google services. They don't want to be caught in a situation where Microsoft controls the browser (95% MSIE) or Apple controls the smartphone/tablet (before Android), but even though they can produce Google Nexus I don't think they're genuinely interested in developing CPUs, GPUs, 3G/LTE chips, cameras, OLED screens or dealing with breakage, support, warranties and such, I think they'd rather leave most of that to pa

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        Ooopsies, look... Google leaving manufacturing....

        http://googleblog.blogspot.com... [blogspot.com]

    • by djdanlib (732853)

      If Google can merge Samsung's camera stuff into stock Android... win for everyone!

    • by Andrio (2580551)

      It's all for Google's upcoming robotics division. The products they'll make will, at least to some extent, benefit from the manufacturing and technology patents that Samsung has.

      Samsung may be going "Aha! Now all of Google's mobile phone patents are mine!" While Google is thinking "Yeah, have fun with those. Wait to you see what I'll be coming out with next."

  • Unholy Alliance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:40PM (#46083121)

    Does anyone else see this as an unholy alliance in the tech war? Google and Samsung just called a truce. Each has huge patent portfolios, and not only that the agreement is binding on future technology for the next 10 years.

    Their main competitors being Apple and Microsoft, I am fairly certain hell would freeze over before those two unite...

    Pretty strong strategic plan for the future dominance.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Does anyone else see this as an unholy alliance in the tech war? Google and Samsung just called a truce. Each has huge patent portfolios, and not only that the agreement is binding on future technology for the next 10 years.

      Unholy, no.

      Both Samsung and Google aren't particularly evil.

      This alliance was pretty much forced on them by the likes of Apple and Microsoft who have been extremely aggressive on the patent front.

      Their main competitors being Apple and Microsoft, I am fairly certain hell would freeze over before those two unite...

      They have a lot more in common than you think and this would be a true unholy alliance.

      I can see an Apple/Microsoft alliance easily happening, with both sides thinking that they are using the other. In fact this has happened before when Microsoft bailed them out in the 90's. Apple and Microsoft have been f

  • Good on them. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by csumpi (2258986)
    While this is probably not best for innovation in general, whatever puts a curb on Apple's asshole behavior is a good thing.

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