Patent licensing agreement for Google and Verizon
Google has now entered into a patent cross selling agreement with Verizon after cutting similar deals with Cisco, Samsung and LG, in its pursuit to attain cutting-edge technology and fend off lawsuits. The contract will not give Google and Verizon access to each other’s patents, but will forbid them from filing lawsuits against each other over patent infringements of their existing patents as well as patents obtained by them over the next five years. The agreement will cover a wide range of products and technologies.
Google could have entered into the agreement to safeguard its interest in avoiding lawsuits over its Google Fiber patents, since it has forayed into the Internet Service Provider (ISP) domain. Google plans to launch Google Fiber into 34 cities, none of which are Verizon FiOS markets. In case Google launches it as an ISP in all 34 markets, it would face competition from major ISPs including AT&T, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable, but not from Verizon.
Verizon, on the other hand, may be seeking protection for its targeted advertising area from the deal. Kirk Dailey, Head of Patent Transactions at Google, commented on the deal saying, “This cross license (agreement) allows both companies to focus on delivering great products and services to consumers around the world”. He added, “We’re pleased to enter into this agreement with an industry leader like Verizon, and we welcome discussions with any company interested in a similar arrangement”.
In a blog-post, Verizon described the agreement as a pact that will reduce the number of patents exposed to frivolous patent litigation in the future. Verizon’s blog post also mentioned that cross licensing (agreement) will provide them protection against “innovation tax”, often collected by patent trolls.
In 2013, over 6,000 lawsuits were filed, a majority of which were filed by patent trolls. The immediate effects of this agreement may not be visible but both the companies stand to benefit from the agreement in the long run, as it will provide them protection against patent abuse.