Apple and Google agree to drop all ongoing lawsuits, will work toward patent reform
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After years of being embroiled in lawsuits, Apple and Google on Friday announced they would be dropping all actions related to smartphone technology. The peace treaty is mainly applicable to Google's Motorola subsidiary, with which Apple has been fighting in court since 2010.
According to joint statement issued today, the companies not only agreed to drop ongoing lawsuits, but promised to work together on patent reform, one of the most hotly contested topics in tech, reports Reuters.
Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies. Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license.
As a result of the agreement, Apple and Google informed a federal appeals court in Washington that all cases pending and ongoing should be dismissed. Both companies entered numerous filings on Friday.
Apple was first sued by Motorola in 2010 over alleged infringement of smartphone technology patents. Apple responded with its own countersuit, which spawned a number of ancillary cases across the U.S. and Europe.
Google then inherited the dispute when it bought Motorola Mobility in 2012. At the time, Google's Larry Page characterized Apple and Microsoft's litigation against Motorola as "anticompetitive," which forced the Internet search giant to acquire the beleaguered handset maker.
It was reported in January that Google would be selling off the Motorola name to Lenovo, but would keep a "vast majority" of approximately 17,000 held patents for purposes of licensing and bolstering Android's backend.
The agreement comes amid a boom in tech-related litigation from companies, individuals and so-called "patent trolls." Larger firms are looking to patent reform as a way to curb the onslaught of lawsuits, but efforts have been fruitless thus far. Apple and HTC announced a similar agreement to dismiss ongoing litigation in 2012 that came with a ten-year licensing deal crafted to protect against future suits.
Today's Apple-Google announcement specifically noted there would be no cross-licensing agreements between the to companies, an unsurprising move given the intense competition between the iOS and Android operating systems. The background as to why the two companies decided to the peace treaty is unclear, though the step forward does not impact Apple's ongoing lawsuits with other handset makers that use Google's Android operating system, including Samsung.