IBM and 3Com this week announced a patent cross-licensing agreement they hope will lead to the faster development of new networking products.
The agreement will allow developers at both companies to work on specific products without fear of patent infringement, said Anthony Petrucci, a spokesman for 3Com.
"They are opening up access to patents to both companies to allow development teams to move faster," Petrucci said. "Right now, the agreement involves general networking products, including switches, network interface cards and modems."
Each company will receive a licence for patents relating to the specific fields in which its development teams are interested, the companies said on Monday.
IBM has listed a portfolio of future projects including server access, server load balancing, Web caching, network interface cards, network management, and VPNs (virtual private networks).
3Com has listed hardware and software patents on handheld connected organisers, network interface cards, analog and digital modem technology network hubs, routers and switches, broadband network technology, and LAN (local area network) telephony.
The companies have shared technology for seven years, Petrucci said. For instance, they collaborated on the development of IBM 8260 multiprotocol hubs, IBM 8271 Ethernet LAN switches, and 3Com CoreBuilder products.