Verizon and Google have signed a global patent cross-licensing agreement, which the two companies said will lower the risk of “frivolous” litigation in the future.
In a blog, Verizon general counsel Randall Milch wrote the pact will reduce the supply of patents that so-called trolls can use against the operator.
The two companies have signed a five-year agreement, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Milch said the patent system is vulnerable to litigation taking years, and costing millions of dollars, whereby innovation can be threatened by the “Johnny-come-lately owner of a single patent”.
Both Google and Verizon are also protected if either one sells a patent to another company, and that company tries to engage in litigation.
Verizon aims to strike other such deals: “But these deals can’t fix the system by themselves. More needs to be done. We continue to support Congress’s effort to enact meaningful patent litigation reform in the coming year,” said Milch.
Google signed separate cross-licensing agreements with Samsung, Cisco and LG earlier this year. It is also in talks with other operators.
The current deal with Verizon took about a year to seal. Neither company would say whether any money changed hands as a result. Also unclear is which technologies are covered by it.