Google has announced a new cross licensing program called the PAX. Google believes that the PAX will reduce the friction between Android device makers as it grants access to license-free Android patents. All the patents held by its members will be accessible to the forum, frankly, this seems to be a clever initiative that is set to reduce the instances of patent litigation and also help the larger manufacturers.
PAX apparently stands for Android Networked Cross-License Agreement (eh?) and Google, Samsung, LG, HTC, Foxconn, HMD Global, Coolpad, BQ and AllView are the founding members. Google further claims that this platform will open up 230,000 patents globally and the membership is free for any company involved in the making of Android products. The statistics further revealed that the Android ecosystem now consists of 400 partner manufacturers and 500 carriers who are said to have manufactured more than 4,000 major devices.
Google and its larger manufacturing partners will stay benefitted by this initiative as they will not be targeted by patent litigations. In the meanwhile smaller companies who hold patents that are quintessential to their survival will soon loose out on their unique selling point. Since it’s a consortium of organisations who are involved in the same business, the chances are that the smaller companies will lose their competitive edge while the larger conglomerates will circumvent the need to apply for patent licensing.
In all likelihood manufacturers who decide not to join the platform will be targeted with litigations and may not survive the same. Google has been tightening its leash on Android ecosystem and the Pixel smartphone was just one of the many moves. With the PAX at place Google will have a better control over the Android ecosystem and so will the larger manufacturing partners. The terms of the licensing deals are not public and it would be interesting to see the framework on which the PAX is based upon.