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Google and other major Android partners have joined an agreement that grants each other royalty-free patent licensing on all Android and Google Applications preinstalled on devices that meet Android’s compatibility requirements.
The Android Networked Cross-License — dubbed PAX, the Latin word for peace — is meant to open the doors to innovation and healthy competition in an industry that doesn’t benefit from patent wars.
“This community-driven clearinghouse operations developed together with our Android partners,” writes Google’s VP of business and for Android and Google Play, Jamie Rosenberg, “ensures that innovation and consumer choice—not patent threats—will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem.”
Android is already distributed as open source, and allows anyone to use it for free. Rosenberg writes that this licensing has allowed Android to expand to more than 400 partner manufacturers who have produced over 4000 major devices. PAX looks to grow this legacy, and is free for anyone to join.
Members currently involved are the search giant itself, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, HTC, Foxconn Technology Group, Coolpad, BQ, HMD Global, and Allview. This means that there is a collective 230 000 patents available under the agreement.
PAX is just another move the Mountain View-company has made to nurture an industry built on balanced patent solutions. According to the LOT Network, a group Google co-founded, companies lose US$80 billion every year to patent trolls (companies whose sole function is to buy patents and make money through litigation.)
“By joining, you will receive broad, long-term freedom of action with respect to Android and Google Applications from all other members. We believe this materially reduces patent risk,” the agreement’s website reads.
The agreement only includes patents on software, and Google is encouraging all companies large and small to “join and enjoy patent peace.”
Featured image: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)