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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 07:50 GMT
Sony and Samsung in patent deal
Shopper viewing a flat screen television
The cost of flat screen televisions is falling
Sony Corporation and Samsung Electronics have agreed to share patents on technology used in the development of new products.

The agreement will involve a wide range of commercial licenses but will not include technology related to Sony's PlayStation video game console.

The deal, aimed at spreading the huge cost of product development, excludes Samsung's home networking technology.

The Japanese and South Korean firms already co-operate in certain fields.

Keeping pace

The firms will share patents on basic semiconductor technology and other standard applications which are integral to new product lines.

Each firm will retail exclusive rights to what they described as "differentiation technology patents" to ensure that the key features of their branded products remain distinctive.

The two companies have been talking about a deal of this kind for more than a year.

This indicates a new patent relationship appropriate for the broadband era
Sony, Samsung

They already operate a joint venture to make liquid crystal display panels for televisions.

"The goal was to construct a mutually beneficial relationship whereby Samsung and Sony could use each others patent portfolios to effectively keep pace with the fast and sophisticated advancement of digital technologies," the companies said in a joint statement.

"This indicates a new patent relationship appropriate for the broadband and network era."

Strong demand for flat screen televisions has boosted sales at Sony and Samsung, but profits have been hit by falling prices.

Sony's half-year profits fell 12.5% due to fierce competition and it warned recently that profits at its core consumer electronics division were unlikely to pick up over the crucial Christmas period.

Samsung, meanwhile, is facing a decline in chip sales in 2005.

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