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Spat settled: Microsoft, Google agree to drop patent lawsuits

In the latest episode of two tech giants finally realizing the futility of pursuing costly and seemingly endless patent litigation, Microsoft and Google have reached a deal to drop around 20 such lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany. The terms of the agreement haven’t been disclosed.

The various disputes between the two companies started five years ago and centered on patents linked to mobile phones, Wi-Fi technology, and Web-based video, the Wall Street Journal reported.

All pending patent cases have been dropped, some of which involved Motorola Mobility, a company Google sold to Lenovo in 2014 while retaining its patents.

“Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues,” the firms said in a joint statement issued Wednesday, adding, “As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility.”

In a further sign of warming relations, the two tech companies revealed they’ve “agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers.”

Related: John Oliver says patent trolls are as stupid as they are evil

The agreement follows similar ones in the tech industry after years of patent-related battles that seemed to make little progress through the courts. Many of the disputes were linked to smartphone technology, with battles becoming more widespread and intense as companies sought big payouts and sales bans in an effort to secure a greater share of the fast-growing mobile market.

A more recent strategy, and one which has proved lucrative for Redmond-based Microsoft, is to seek resolution by striking licensing deals to share patented technology, though even these can derail and end up in court.

Recent deals include one that saw Google and Samsung agree to share each other’s technology-related patents for the next 10 years.

However, lawyers patent-related paydays seem far from over, with the epic battle between Apple and Samsung, to name but one, continuing to bounce around the U.S. court system.