Cisco protects itself and its customers

3 patent deals this week seek to stave off litigation; a fourth in SDN?

Cisco's patent licensing deals with Google and Samsung this week are intended to avoid costly litigation so the licensing companies can focus on product development. Google and Samsung took care of that themselves late last month. 

Cisco reached a separate deal with patent company Innovatio IP Ventures to essentially protect its Wi-Fi customers from patent enforcement litigation. The settlement cost Cisco $2.7 million and $13 million in litigation fees.

That's an example of what Cisco's looking to avoid with Google and Samsung. Under the Google deal, Cisco and Google have cross-licensed each other's patents across a range of products and technologies in order to help reduce the risk of future litigation. Terms were not disclosed, but it's the second such arrangement for Google in a 10-day period, coming after January's Samsung agreement.

The deal between Cisco and Samsung covers the two companies' existing patents as well as those filed over the next 10 years.

"Innovation is stifled all too often in today's overly-litigious environment," said Dan Lang, Cisco's Vice President of Intellectual Property, in a statement.  "By cross-licensing our patent portfolios, Cisco and Samsung are taking important steps to reverse the trend and advance innovation and freedom of operation."

Separately, Cisco reportedly acquired a stake in SDN company Embrane, which was founded by former Cisco engineers to develop software-defined Layer 4-7 service infrastructure for service providers. Cisco contributed $6 million to Embrane's most recent round of funding, which was $12 million, according to GigaOm.

Embrane is also a Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure partner.

Cisco and Embrane declined comment.

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