In an effort to promote growth and build a safe harbor against patent litigation, Google and some of its major partners have created PAX.

PAX is the latest cross-licensing patent initiative where members provide royalty-free use of patents that cover everything Android-related. The companies involved feel that this will help keep innovation coming, spur future growth, and protect against legal threats across the board.

PAX members currently include Google, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Foxconn Technology Group, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. The members collectively own more than 230,000 patents worldwide. As more companies join, PAX will bring even more patent peace and value to its members through more freedom to innovate.

Android itself is free to use and over 400 partners are taking advantage of this. In 2016 there were more than 4,000 "major" devices running Android released and there are more than 1.6 billion people using them. That's a big draw for any company, no matter how large or small it may be right now. An agreement like PAX can help them all focus on spending time and money to drive their business instead of in court.

In the end, this should be a boon for consumers as well. When companies feel free to use and develop new ideas and features without the fear of standing alone in the face of a legal battle, the things we buy get better and better. Look for more companies to join the PAX initiative as time goes on.