Google and Cisco agree to ‘no trolling’ patent agreement

4 Feb 2014

In a bid to reduce litigation that arises from claims of patent ownership, internet giant Google and networking equipment maker Cisco have signed a formal agreement which will let the two companies share patents.

In a statement, Cisco announced the agreement will allow “each company to extract significant value from its patent portfolio through a licence to the other’s portfolio and by helping to reduce the risk of future litigation.”

The move comes as the two companies look to fight off what are known as ‘patent trolls’, in this case referred to as people involved in ‘patent privateering’, which is the active enforcing of patent rights with a view to purely gain financially.

The agreement is likely to affect hundreds of patents owned by the companies and those involved with the companies will look to continue its case for increased patent reform in Silicon Valley and the United States.

Greater patent reform

Speaking about the deal, Google’s deputy general counsel for patents, Allen Lo, said, “Our agreement with Cisco will reduce the potential for litigation, letting us focus instead on building great new products. We’re pleased to enter into this cross-licence, and we welcome discussions with any company interested in a similar arrangement.”

Some of the largest technology companies in the world have become increasingly frustrated with claims of patent ownership from groups and, in cases with some other large companies like IBM, will simply purchase the rights to the patents.

Both Cisco and Google are members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness, a leading advocacy group for patent reform. In addition, Cisco’s own general counsel, Mark Chandler, recently reiterated a pledge not to sell patents to patent assertion entities in order to help encourage innovation rather than litigation.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic