With more than 400 partner manufacturers, the Android ecosystem is particularly enormous — but cluttered. This could eventually lead the hardware makers to pursue copyright and patent infringement against each other, thus, causing a disruption in experiences handed down to the consumers. Google is looking to avoid such complications and propagate healthy competition in the future.
Therefore, the Mountain View-based tech giant and some of its major Android partners have come together to announce the launch of a new patent licensing initiative called PAX. Though the license agreement has actually been named as ‘Android Networked Cross-License Agreement’ but Google is called it PAX for obvious reasons – comfort. PAX stands for “peace” in Latin and holds a particular importance in the IP and patent ecosystem. Google is using this license agreement to propagate legal peace among their open-source Android developers.
Defining the primary objective of this new initiative, Jamie Rosenberg, VP, Business Operations, Android and Google Play said,
We believe PAX will further expand the openness of Android for its members, promoting patent peace that will free up time and money for members, who can then dedicate those resources to creating new ideas.
The manufacturers who’ve already signed up for this initiative include Google (of course!), Samsung, LG, Foxconn Technology Group, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. The partners have agreed to share over 230,000 patents covering “Android and Google Applications” on any device which is compatible with the Android’s requirements.
The PAX licensing initiative is completely open and free for any hardware maker to join and contribute positively to the community. Others, including the community, are totally free to gain access to these patents. This means that the members of this initiative agree not to harbor hate and sue each other for making use of patents shared under the agreement.
So, this means that Samsung is free to make use of any of HTC’s patents in their Android offering or vice-versa. The PAX initiative also supports innovation and enables Google’s Android partners to go ahead and amalgamate any patented technologies to further enhance user experience. It is also gunning directly for patent trolls, who’re only in the market for collecting royalties and filing a frivolous lawsuit to bring in more funds to their company. PAX will enable the expansive Android community to share resources and steer clear of such trolls.
In addition, PAX is not the first initiative which Google has launched to simplify the patent and licensing process. It already has some active efforts such as License on Transfer Network (eliminating patent trolls from the equation) and the Open Patent Non-assertion Pledge (aimed at decreasing threat around open-source software). These initiatives are aimed at encouraging small and medium-scale hardware manufacturers to join the movement and accept Android without any fear of lapsing on patents.