Google and Microsoft end their patent slugfest over phones and the Xbox

Peace has broken out in patent land.

Google and Microsoft announced Wednesday that they have ended their five-year patent fight over technology found in phones and the Xbox, according to Bloomberg.

The companies did not release any financial details about the agreement. The peace pact will result in dropping 20 lawsuits in both the U.S. and Germany, Bloomberg says.

Google bought Motorola Mobility in 2011 for $12.5 billion mostly for the firm’s patent portfolio. During its long-running battle with Microsoft, Google argued that it held the patents for some of the technology found in the Xbox and wanted royalties. Likewise, Microsoft tried to block Motorola mobile phones.

Ars Technica has the statement from the two companies:

Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues. As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility. Separately, Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers.

The patent wars captivated the tech industry for years as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Samsung filed lawsuits worldwide and in some cases, tried to block competitors from selling products they claimed infringed on their intellectual property.

But the current CEOs of Google and Microsoft were not at the helm of their companies at the beginning of the war nor during at the height of the battle.

Patent suits between tech firms seemed less about an important principle but in many cases about getting to the right licensing agreements.

But this internecine fighting undercut the industry’s other patent policy struggle with what are known as “patent trolls,” patent licensing firms that tech leaders accuse of shaking down companies. Efforts to pass a patent reform bill died in Congress last year.

Now with Google and Microsoft shaking hands, will patent reform find new life?

Above: Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO.  (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)


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