The ongoing patent disputes between Apple and the various Android manufacturers is a bit of a bore these days. The tech community has been saturated with stories such as "company X stole company Y's technology ____, and now company Y is filling lawsuit." But, the last few months have shown there might be some positive change. Google signed a cross-patent license agreement with it's hardware partner Samsung, in an effort to strengthen the Android platform, but there hasn't been a lot of progress between Apple and Google, until now.
Apple and Google's Motorola Mobility unit have agreed to settle their patent litigations, thereby ending one of the most bitter and ongoing feuds the tech industry has ever experienced. Unfortunately, the agreement does not include any cross-platform patent licensing. However, Both Apple and Google have agreed to put their efforts into reforming the widely criticized patent system in the United States, according to a joint statement made by both companies.
Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies. Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license.
So far, these agreements will not have any affect on Apple's ingoing legal battles with Samsung. In the most recent ruling, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $119.6 million to Apple for patent violations. Samsung was awarded a minor $158,000 in damages.
The lack of a patent cross-licensing agreement is not surprising, considering the rate of innovation in mobile devices (particularly wearables) is extremely fast, and hardware manufactures will want to retain as many advantages over the competition as possible. Much of the criticism regarding technology patent litigation is focused on the specific patents, as many are far too encompassing. While this is true, companies that file such patents (such as Apple) are still working within the limits of the broader patent system - hence why there is need for better structuring, standards for filing, and oversight within the US patent system. The fact that Apple and Google have agreed to put their efforts into reform could be much more beneficial than ending any current lawsuits.