Google and Microsoft have agreed to settle a years-long patent dispute, dismissing all outstanding patent lawsuits against each other.

The two companies, which have historically been rivals, agree to dismiss around 20 patent lawsuits brought to court over the past five years, with the bulk of the patents being related to smartphones, Wi-Fi and web video protocols.

There was potentially billions of dollars at stake in the dispute, but apart from that the lawsuits were being watched because of the ramifications they were expected to have on patent law.

Of course, the two companies didn't disclose the terms of the settlement, however they did say they had agreed to collaborate on patent matters and that they would likely work together in the future to benefit customers.

The settlement appears to mark a new chapter for the two companies, which have fought pretty intensively over the years to defend their patents.

The dispute first began in 2010 when Microsoft sued Motorola, saying that Motorola's smartphones infringed on a number of Microsoft's patents. Motorola counter-sued, claiming that Microsoft had infringed on 16 of Motorola's wireless and web video patents.

Microsoft, however, licenses patents from companies like Google, with many of the patents being deemed as essential patents, meaning they have to be licensed on a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis. After Motorola sued Microsoft, Microsoft counter-sued, saying that Motorola was charging too much for its essential patents, which described parts that were essential to how phones work.

Google then muscled into the argument by buying Motorola in 2011. Even though Google sold Motorola last year, it retained many of the patents, meaning that it stayed involved in the case.

Via: Cnet

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