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Samsung, Google agree to cross-license their patents for next 10 years

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SEOUL, South Korea - Samsung Electronics Co. has signed an agreement with Google Inc. to cross-license their patents, reducing the risk of costly legal disputes over intellectual property and likely fostering greater collaborate between the two tech giants.

Seoul-based Samsung said Monday that the deal covers patents to be filed over the next 10 years as well as existing patents. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Allen Lo, a deputy general counsel at Google, said in a statement that the deal allows the two to reduce the potential for litigation and to focus on innovation.

Samsung said it also paves the way for deeper collaboration on research and development for Samsung and Google. The two already collaborate on smartphones and televisions.

The announcement means there will be a higher possibility for Samsung to participate in Google's key projects as a hardware partner, said Chung Chang-won, an analyst at Nomura Financial Investment Co.

Chung picked wearable PCs, which connect everyday objects such as glasses to wireless networks, and Google's self-driving cars as the products that Samsung could join forces on with Google.

Samsung is the world's largest maker of popular consumer electronics such as smartphones and televisions, and key tech components such as memory chips for mobile phones and PCs.

Google, the world's largest search company and maker of the most used mobile operating system, Android, has been moving to acquire hardware manufacturers such as Motorola Mobility and Nest Labs.

Tech companies often use litigation to stop rivals from using patents without permission but many of the disputes end in cross-licensing agreements outside court.

Samsung, maker of Android-powered Galaxy devices, is in legal fights with Apple. CEOs of Samsung and Apple are scheduled to meet next month to give a try at settlement per U.S. court's request.

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