As technology advances, so do patent fights. Patent litigation is expensive and time-consuming -- and usually involves deep pockets that can afford high-paid attorneys. In most cases, the parties settle and, ironically enough, become business partners.

Look at yesterday's announcement from OpenTV (NASDAQ:OPTV), a leading interactive television company. It agreed to settle its patent fight with Disney (NYSE:DIS).

OpenTV owns a variety of patents for "synchronizing Internet content with television programming." Disney put up a fight but decided to work out a deal. It will get a non-exclusive license to use the patents. What's more, both companies are negotiating to enter an agreement to develop enhanced television programming.

It's a happy world after all.

OpenTV certainly has significant backing, with Liberty Media (NYSE:L) as its majority shareholder. OpenTV has followed the methods of John Malone, the chairman of Liberty -- that is, aggressive deal making. Over the past few years, OpenTV purchased Wink Communications, BettingCorp., and ACTV.

OpenTV has also cut interesting strategic alliances. There is a five-year licensing agreement with Motorola (NYSE:MOT). There is also a deal with QVC to allow for real-time two-way interactive television shopping.

No doubt, television is going through disruptive change, as seen with the impact of TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO). As for the Disney-OpenTV dispute, both parties realized that there is a lot of money to be made in interactive television, and getting to a deal makes sense.

Fool contributor Tom Taulli is the author of The EDGAR Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements. He does not own shares in any of the stocks mentioned.