Apple and Google have reached a settlement in a series of fierce patent battles marking a major legal truce between the companies responsible for the leading smartphone platforms. The two companies told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today that they have agreed to drop all outstanding patent litigation, although they stopped short of licensing their patent portfolios to each other. The agreement brings a multi-year, trans-continental patent fight to a close. Both companies brought patent actions against one another to US courts, the US International Trade Commission, as well as German authorities.
Apple Inc. and Google Inc. agreed to drop all lawsuits between them, setting aside one of the many issues that divide the two technology giants controlling the smartphone world. The truce covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit. Motorola sued Apple for patent infringement in 2010, and Apple countersued. Google inherited the suits when it bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012 in part to obtain Motorola’s portfolio of thousands of patents, which it used to defend its Android mobile-operating system from intellectual-property claims by Apple, Microsoft Corp. and others. Google earlier this year agreed to sell Motorola’s devices unit to Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. for $2.9 billion, though it would keep Motorola’s patents. Once allies, Apple and Google are butting heads more frequently, eying the same acquisition targets and top engineering talent as each company’s business in areas such as maps, voice-based search, streaming video devices and Web browsers bleeds into the other’s.