Google, Apple broker deal to stay out of court

Google and Apple, longtime legal sparring partners in the mobile realm, called a truce Friday in a joint statement that announced the two would suspend any outstanding smartphone patent litigation against one another. The two tech companies said they will work together to remedy the country's muddled patent system.

"Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies," the companies said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg. "Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license," the statement added.

Across all industries, Google and Apple have filed about 20 lawsuits against each other, according to Bloomberg. The mobile cases mostly stem from the 17,000 patents and applications Google acquired following its purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Most--if not all--of the court time between the two firms was symbolic, and the companies "have little to show for the litigation except legal bills," the Bloomberg article states. And while wars of attrition can be a valid tactic, little is gained when two healthy giants try to starve the other out.

During one hearing, Apple revealed to the court that it had already spent $32 million on just the one case, and through their many encounters, neither company ever forced meaningful sanctions on the other.

With Google selling off the tangible assets of Motorola Mobility--while keeping most of the patent portfolio for itself--some experts believe the ceasefire was brokered by Apple so it could set its sights solely on Samsung.

"This could signal a new strategy on Apple's part to focus its litigation efforts even more squarely on Samsung, which is by far the largest Android phone manufacturer," Brian Love, a Santa Clara University School of Law professor, told Bloomberg.

Apple's other main litigious foe, Samsung, mainly runs Google's Android operating system on its devices, but is not involved in this agreement.

For more:
- read this Bloomberg article
- read this Reuters report

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