Google Forges Patent-Licensing Deal With Cisco to Curb Lawsuits

Feb 04, 2014 8:20 am ET

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc., two of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, entered a long-term deal to license each other’s intellectual property, saying they want to curb the patent lawsuits that have plagued the industry.

The agreement covers a broad range of products and allows each company to extract “significant value” from its patents, according to a statement today. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The pact brings together two businesses that rarely compete directly: Cisco is the largest maker of networking equipment, while Google is the market leader in Internet searches and smartphone software. Still, the agreement will decrease the risk of future lawsuits, the companies said in the statement. The technology industry has been embroiled in litigation in recent years, especially over the smartphone technology developed by Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Google.

“In today’s overly litigious environment, crosslicensing is an effective way for technology companies to work together and help prevent unnecessary patent lawsuits,” said Dan Lang, vice president of intellectual property at San Jose, California- based Cisco.

Both Cisco and Mountain View, California-based Google belong to a patent-advocacy group called Coalition for Patent Fairness.