Samsung Electronics and AU Optronics (AUO) have signed a broad patent cross-licensing agreement, they said Thursday. Both companies are among the biggest flat-panel display makers in the world.
The agreement covers patents for TFT (thin-film transistor) LCDs (liquid crystal display) and OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays, according to a joint statement. The two companies said the agreement should help bolster development of technology for LCD televisions and could lead to a closer relationship between the companies.
" With the sharing of each other's patents, AUO and Samsung believe this to be an opportunity for further technological and business cooperation," they said in the statement.
In July 2004, AU Optronics purchased 170 patents LCD-related from IBM to cut licensing fees and strengthen its research.
Patent cross-licensing deals are becoming increasingly common in the electronics industry. The agreements give each party access to patents held by the other and can speed development of new products, reduce licensing payments and lessen the chances of lawsuits from competitors.
On Tuesday, Finland's Nokia and Japan's Kyocera ended a series of lawsuits with such an agreement covering mobile phone technology.
In the display market, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, the world's fourth largest LCD maker, announced a deal with Japan's Hitachi in June 2005 and in November last year Sony and Japanese oil company Idemitsu Kosan Co. said they will cross-license OLED-related patents.