Google and Verizon have signed a patent licensing deal to avoid the risk of any future litigation between the two companies and strengthen their defences against patent trolls.
The deal is just one of many signed this year by Google in a bid to avoid costly patent legal cases which have dogged the firm over the past few years, notably against its nemesis Apple.
Randel Milch, general counsel at Verizon, said in a blog post announcing the deal that such an agreement is necessary because the risk remains that some will try to take advantage of each company’s innovations despite laws designed to protect innovation.
"In high-tech industries like ours, the patent system can be exploited to get in the way of innovation," he said.
"High-tech products can implicate thousands of patents, and when patent litigation takes years, costs millions of dollars, and comes long after innovators have launched new products, the Johnny-come-lately owner of a single patent can threaten an entire innovative ecosystem.
"That’s bad for innovation and bad for American consumers. We’re pleased that today’s licensing deal with Google will help reduce the supply of patents that so-called patent trolls can assert against us."
Verizon said that the firm expects to sign more deals in 2015 to bolster this protection.
Kirk Dailey, head of patent transactions at Google, also backed the deal. "This cross licence allows both companies to focus on delivering great products and services to consumers around the world," he said.
"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."
Google, Cisco and Samsung signed deals with each other at the start of 2014 to strengthen their hand in the legal market regarding patents.
This appeared to be in part a response to the Rockstar consortium of tech companies, which include Apple, Sony and Microsoft, which owns a treasure trove of patents acquired from now defunct telecoms giant Nortel.
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