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Samsung inks patent cross-licensing pact with Cisco

The agreement marks the latest collaboration among tech giants. In the past weeks, Samsung also reached deals with Google and Ericsson.

Samsung touted its new Smart Home push at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Colin West McDonald/CNET
Samsung on Wednesday announced its latest patent-licensing deal, with the Korean electronics giant reaching a pact with networking maker Cisco.

The agreement marks the third deal that Samsung has announced in the past couple weeks. It also reached deals with Google and Ericsson, both to settle litigation and to prevent future issues.

Like the previous pacts, Samsung provided little information. In the case of Cisco, the cross-licensing deal will cover the two companies' existing patents and new patents over the next 10 years.

The deal should benefit both companies, but it could particularly boost Samsung's efforts in the connected home. The company at the Consumer Electronics Show in January introduced Samsung Smart Home, which lets people use an app to control devices and home settings and access customer service. Cisco has patents and expertise in home networking and other technology for the "Internet of Things."

"Innovation is stifled all too often in today's overly-litigious environment," said Dan Lang, Cisco's vice president of intellectual property. "By cross-licensing our patent portfolios, Cisco and Samsung are taking important steps to reverse the trend and advance innovation and freedom of operation."

Many companies in the tech arena have been embroiled in patent litigation in recent years. Perhaps the most notable has been the dispute between Apple and Samsung. Samsung has been shoring up agreements with partners such as Google and Cisco, as well as rivals such as Ericsson to broaden the technology at its disposal and to protect itself from future litigation.

Some holders of patented products try to avoid legal battles by signing deals with patent assertion firms that file lawsuits in their own names. These assertion firms profit from the suits and then share the proceeds with the patent holder. In the unlikely event that Samsung or Cisco tried to sell any patents to such firms, the patents covered by the cross-licensing agreement would be off limits.