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StorageIBM and Western Digital have announced that they are entering into an intellectual property sharing arrangement, in the form of a formal patent cross-license agreement. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

According to a statement on Western Digital’s website it has bought 100 patent assets from IBM, which relate to IBM inventions for distributed storage, object storage and emerging non-volatile memory. Western Digital said the intellectual property has been selected to be used in conjunction with its existing portfolio of 10,000 patents and patent applications.

Non-volatile memory is an emerging technology sector contested by Intel, Micron and HGST, with technologies such as 3D XPoint and Phase Change Memory. IBM demonstrated its own PCM device in May 2014.

IBM has led the annual list of U.S. patent recipients for 23 consecutive years. In 2015 it broke its record for the number of patents (7,355 patents) it applied for. Though it is developing new inventions across a diverse range of technology fronts, IBM has said that it is putting a strong emphasis on developing cognitive systems and cloud platforms as the company positions itself to try to regain leadership in a new era of computing.

The challenge IBM is undertaking is to find a way to help humans and machines connect across the cloud and collectively be more productive than they have ever been before, according to Thomas Malone, director of the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT.

This particular agreement is about making rapid advancement and monetising of new data storage solutions, according to Western Digital. “We are building on our long-standing relationship and look forward to future collaborations and business opportunities,” said Mike Cordano, chief operating officer for Western Digital.

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