Talking tech since 2003

This morning, Samsung announced a new patent licensing deal with Google. The agreement will last for the next ten years, and will give both companies access to each other’s patent portfolios without risk of litigation.

Allen Lo, Google’s deputy general counsel for patents, had this to say in the press release:

“We’re pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner Samsung. By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation.”

This agreement could serve as something of a blueprint for the talks that Samsung is supposedly engaged in with Apple, which has the potential ameliorate the many patent-related conflicts those two are clashing over in court.

Interestingly, there’s also some speculation about the effect this agreement will have on Google’s line of products—specifically its Nexus line of handsets. Russian blogger Eldar Murtazinwhose previous speculations and predictions carry some weight in the rumor department—has taken to Twitter to offer up some theories (or source-based rumors?) regarding what this licensing deal could mean for the future of Android devices:



Murtazin posits that this new agreement means Google could go as far as discontinuing its Nexus line of smartphones, which would cut LG—the current maker of the Nexus line—out of the picture. That would then mean more “Google Play Edition” phones from other OEMs, which, as a BGR post on the subject points out, means Android OS updates would be the responsibilities of the OEMs and not Google itself. That’s a potentially losing situation for fans of Android and those of us who want the latest and greatest build of our mobile OS of choice.

Of course, this is a moot point if Murtazin is just speculating and has no real basis in the facts of the situation. Personally, I have my doubts that a company as mighty as Google would bend to Samsung’s will and kill its own flagship smartphone line in the name of licensing. Google seems to have had no trouble making its own way in the world of tech on its own, so I have to wonder whether it would actually concede that particular aspect of its business in order to make Samsung happy.

Rather, I have a feeling that this licensing agreement is much more limited in scope: access to patents to help other devices (like Samsung’s rumored Glass-like wearable and Google’s various tech initiatives), and a ten-year guarantee that the two companies won’t sue each other.

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