In a bid to reduce patent litigation, Google has now introduced a new agreement called PAX that aims to reduce patent infringement woes. All the members who sign up for PAX essentially allow others to use their patented property for free. Google feels that this free sharing of patents will notably reducing lawsuits, create less trouble for device makers, and give them more time to focus on innovation.
PAX means ‘peace’ in Latin. The agreement, which is officially named Android Networked Cross-License Agreement, aims to build a ‘patent peace’ among device makers. Often, many companies are found making money through just patent lawsuits because of a violation of intellectual property right. This could often lead to a long trial, leading to loss of money and time in the process. PAX aims to ensure all firms working with Android freely share their patents with each other, free of cost, without any worry of a lawsuit.
PAX founding members include Google, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Foxconn Technology Group, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. The members collectively own more than 230,000 patents worldwide, which is huge for starters. The PAX agreement’s fine print is unknown, and so what these companies actually sign up for isn't very clear at this point. This could presumably be beneficial for major conglomerates like Samsung and Foxconn, but for small companies who survive on their new innovation, may not want to give it up for free.
Google, on the other hand, believes that just like how Android is open sourced, patents of manufacturers who use the operating system, should also be shared freely. Google notes that the Android ecosystem has grown to include more than 400 partner manufacturers and 500 carriers who have produced more than 4,000 major devices in the last year alone with an astounding 1.6 billion active users.