Google versus Apple-backed Rockstar

on January 17, 2014 by Kara Larsen

Kara Larsen picAn Apple-backed consortium called “Rockstar” is allegedly using dubious patents to threaten its partners and customers in the mobile device industry. Google has filed a lawsuit in California to challenge Rockstar’s actions, specifically that Rockstar’s patent campaign is negatively impacting Google’s Android platform.

Google’s lawsuit is an attempt to circumvent numerous patent lawsuits filed by Rockstar against its Android device partners. Rockstar has charged Google and its partners with violating seven of its patents. In short, Google’s recent lawsuit is a request for a determination that Google and its partners are not infringing on Rockstar’s patents and that Rockstar’s numerous lawsuits are an effort to harm Android, specifically the Nexus devices in particular.

This litigation flows from the Nortel auction held in 2011. Nortel, a bankrupt telecommunications company, auctioned patents that were eventually won with a $4.5 billion bid by Rockstar. Once Rockstar owned the Nortel patents, it sought to obtain licensing contracts from other tech companies, including those using Android. It filed a lawsuit against Android licensees, including Samsung, Asus, LG and HTC, claiming they are infringing on the Nortel patents.

There is a history of Google’s competitors claiming that Google’s success is largely attributed to its practice of copying other’s innovations and infringing on copyrights. It remains to be seen if Google will be able to obtain a court order that it has not infringed any patents. Meanwhile, Rockstar continues to expand its troll campaign to discover and sue other companies allegedly infringing on the old Nortel patents.

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