Google, Microsoft Wave White Flag to End Patent Battles
People stand in the lobby of Google’s Washington, DC, headquarters in January 2015. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Google, Microsoft Wave White Flag to End Patent Battles

IT titans to drop 20 lawsuits in US and Germany after five years of hostilities

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This post originally appeared at The Var Guy

By DH Kass

After five years battling one another on multiple fronts over patents and technology innovations, IT titans Google and Microsoft said they would end hostilities by dropping some 20 lawsuits in the US and Germany.

The companies have battled each other over the use of various patents for mobile phones, gaming consoles, royalties, and more.

Neither company disclosed financial terms of the settlement agreement. But in a gesture reflecting a new era of collaboration between former rivals, the two companies said they will work together to develop a royalty-free video compression technology to boost download speeds and to push for a unified patent system in Europe.

"Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues,” the companies said in a joint statement. “As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility," the vendors said.

"Separately, Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers," they said.

In recent months, both Google and Microsoft have sought to move away from their former litigious postures, with the search giant last year putting aside its patent differences with Apple after four years of legal wrangling, requesting a federal appeals court in Washington dismiss their cases against each other.

And, earlier this month, Microsoft elevated Brad Smith, its top lawyer, 22-year company veteran and architect of the company’s kinder, gentler legal posture, to president and chief legal officer in a move reflective of its newfound more collaborative profile under chief executive Satya Nadella.

The trend toward legal detente among once bitter IT rivals is a welcome respite from the wars that have dominated intellectual property innovations for years and a counter to the torrent of lawsuits filed by technology patent trolls, which consultant Unified Patents said could reach an all-time high this year.

This first ran at http://thevarguy.com/business-technology-solution-sales/100115/google-microsoft-wave-white-flag-end-patent-battles

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