Microsoft and Google make peace, but patent trolls are still at war

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Overnight Microsoft and Google agreed to a truce in the numerous pending lawsuits over patents.

Here’s part of the joint statement they released:

“As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility.

“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.”

Patents have been a big issue in Silicon Valley for some time, as companies leverage their patent cache to stop competitors, and others use old patents to demand fees.

To avoid litigation, some companies have begun stockpiling patents through costly licensing or purchasing deals. Think Microsoft’s €1.6 billion licensing deal with Nokia, or Google essentially paying $US4 billion for Motorolla’s patents.

Google and Microsoft’s deal settles some 20 outstanding lawsuits between the two companies.

But as data from Unified Patents shows, this is a miniscule number compared to the total outstanding litigation. And the trendline is going in the wrong direction.

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