Peace has broken out in patent land.
The two companies, which didn’t disclose financial terms, have been litigating over technology innovations for five years.
Microsoft and Google had roughly 20 lawsuits pending between them over uses of patents in mobile phones, Wi-Fi, Web video and other technologies. The peace pact will result in dropping 20 lawsuits in both the USA and Germany, Bloomberg says.
The detente between Google and Microsoft is another sign of a change in what had been a period of aggressive patent wars in the technology industry, particularly over smartphones. Google’s former Motorola Mobility unit had been demanding royalties on the Xbox video-gaming system, and Microsoft had sought to block Motorola mobile phones from using certain features. The pace of litigation has slowed recently, as a few companies strike agreements to license each other’s patents. Microsoft obtained an order blocking the feature on Motorola phones imported into the USA though it later said that US customs officials never enforced it.
“Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues”, they said in a joint statement.
They also agreed to collaborate on patent matters and work together “to benefit our customers”.
While the resolution between Microsoft and Google is somewhat unorthodox for the two competing companies traditional stance towards each other, it shouldn’t be that surprising.
Patent suits between tech firms seemed less about an important principle but in many cases about getting to the right licensing agreements. Efforts to pass a patent reform bill died in Congress a year ago. New CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai may no longer be beholden to the philosophical grudges of the company’s founders when it comes to dealing with Microsoft.