For years, while the giant tech companies of the world have been growing in importance in all of our lives, behind the scenes they have been locked in legal battles with each other. Many, if not all, Louisiana residents rely upon devices, software or websites bearing names like Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft. In recent years, all of these companies have been at odds with each other in high-stakes intellectual property disputes. However, there are signs that this era of business litigation may be coming to a close.

Recently, Google and Microsoft announced that they had resolved more than 20 pending lawsuits in the United States and overseas claiming patent infringement in Android smart phones and Xbox video game technology. The disputes dated back to 2010, and involved claims that the companies owed each other billions of dollars in royalties.

The companies did not reveal the exact terms of how they are resolving their disputes, but did announce that they will be joining forces to develop new technology together.

The announcement follows a string of similar announcements from other tech companies, including Apple and Samsung. Industry observers have noted a trend in which the biggest tech companies are quietly settling their patent infringement lawsuits and collaborating with each other more freely.

Of course, the Microsofts and Googles of the world can afford to operate differently from many smaller companies in other industries. Many smaller businesses must still litigate if they want to protect their patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets or other assets. This kind of litigation is highly technical and requires the help of experienced business law attorneys.

Source: Bloomberg, “Google, Microsoft Resolve Patent Fight Over Phones, Xbox,” Susan Decker and Dina Bass, Sept. 30, 2015