Google announced the Android Networked Cross-License, or Pax for short, a royalty-free community patent cross-licence which will enable it and Android device makers to collectively defend themselves against patent lawsuits.
Companies signing up can use each other’s patents without fear of being sued, something which happens quite frequently.
Members include Google, Samsung, LG, Foxconn, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ and Allview, which have agreed to share patents covering “Android and Google applications” on any device meeting Android’s compatibility requirements.
The members together own more than 230,000 patents worldwide. As more companies join, PAX will bring more patent “peace and value” to its members through more freedom to innovate, Google said.
“This community-driven clearing house, developed together with our Android partners, ensures that innovation and consumer choice – not patent threats – will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem,” said Jamie Rosenberg, VP of business and operations for Android and Google Play.
“In Latin, the word pax means peace. In the world of intellectual property, patent peace often coincides with innovation and healthy competition that benefit consumers,” he added.
The firm believes Pax, which is free to join, will expand the openness of Android and promote “patent peace” that will free up time and money for members.
Android is distributed under open source licenses allowing anyone to use it for free and the Android ecosystem counts more than 400 partner manufacturers and 500 carriers who have produced more than 4,000 major devices in the last year alone with 1.6 billion active users, according to Google.
Pax is the latest licensing effort Google helped develop. Other efforts include the LOT Network and the Open Patent Non-assertion Pledge. The company also participates in initiatives such as the Open Invention Network and IP3, run by Allied Security Trust.