IBM And Samsung Strike Patent License Deal, See Joint Development Opportunities

IBM and Samsung Electronics have struck a broad cross-patent license agreement under which the top two U.S. patent winners are licensing their patent portfolios to each other.

The deal will allow IBM and Samsung "to innovate and operate freely while using each other's patented inventions," according to a joint statement from the two companies.

The specific terms and conditions of the agreement weren't disclosed.

IBM and Samsung both possess patent portfolios in a wide range of technologies including semiconductors, telecommunications, visual and mobile communications, software and technology-based services.

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"This licensing agreement will help both companies expedite innovation and achieve business growth by providing each company access to the other's patents for basic technologies," said Dr. Seungho Ahn, executive vice president and head of Samsung Electronics' IP Center. "We also hope the agreement will open new opportunities for wider collaboration between two of the leading innovators in the technology industry."

Just last month IBM and Samsung disclosed a plan to collaborate on basic research into new semiconductor materials, manufacturing processes and related technologies. They said the new semiconductor process technology they expected to result from the joint research could be used in a broad range of applications, ranging from smartphone handsets to communications infrastructure.

Last month IBM said that in 2010, for the 18th consecutive year, it topped the list of recipients of awarded U.S. patents with a record 5,896 patents. That made it the first company to ever receive more than 5,000 patents in a single year.

Samsung wasn't far behind, winning 4,551 patents in 2010. Microsoft (3,094 patents), Canon (2,552) and Panasonic (2,482) rounded out the top five.

Last year Samsung garnered a lot of headlines with its Android-based smartphones, which some reviewers considered to the coolest available last year, and its Galaxy Tab tablet computer.