Google sues Rockstar, claiming Apple led patent troll threatens Android and Nexus

Google sues Rockstar, claiming Apple led patent troll threatens Android and Nexus
Apple led Rockstar is a group of tech companies seeking to protect a portfolio of patents that it jointly purchased last year from defunct Canadian tech giant BlackBerry Nortel. On Tuesday, Google announced that it is taking Rockstar to court in an attempt to stop litigation which it says has "placed a cloud on Google’s Android platform," in particular, on Google's Nexus range of devices.

Google is trying to save many companies that use the open source Android OS, such as Asus, HTC, Huawei, Pantech, Samsung, LG and ZTE, from having to waste precious financial resources and time, defending themselves in courtrooms. The companies that make up Rockstar include Android rivals such as Apple, BlackBerry and Microsoft. In 2012, Rockstar spent $4.5 billion ($2.5 billion came from Apple) to buy a number of patents owned by Nortel.

Rockstar has no operations and employs Canadian engineers whose sole job is to scour the operations of other companies, looking for something that might infringe on its IP portfolio. Google's filing claims that the patent troll has focused on 100 companies and Rockstar's CEO claims that Facebook, LinkedIn and almost every major tech company is infringing on the patents that it has purchased from Nortel.

Google does not relish the idea of having to spend time and money defending itself and its customers. It is asking the court to rule that the "the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10 devices sold by Google, directly or indirectly" do not infringe on the seven patents owned by Rockstar and MobileStar. The latter is a shell company that apparently was created to help Rockstar win in court.

The patents owned by Rockstar deal with basic smartphone functions such as "mobile hotspot functionality," and "Messaging and Notification." Still, Rockstar has not been successful trying to license the patents it purchased and now the consortium faces the prospects of losing the $4.5 billion investment made by its members. Unless, of course, it can generate income the good old American way, by suing for it.

But precedent might not be on Google's side. Early this year, a court ruled that Cisco could not sue to prevent its router customers from litigation. Google could find the courts unwilling to allow it to protect its customers from the patent troll.

Rockstar is getting desperate. No one, not even Apple, is happy with having to write off a multi-billion dollar investment. It is this desperation that has Google concerned about the depths that its rivals will go to in order to see some sort of return on the purchase of the Nortel patents. 

If you're an amateur lawyer, feel free to view Google's complaint below.

source: Scribd via GigAOM



1. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

My cat's breath smells like cat food.

5. Ravens

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

Ok... but anyways, I'm really getting annoyed by patent trolls. It's getting out of control.

6. papss unregistered

So you hate them all? Thats the way its starting to turn out.

31. rf1975

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

No, it not about android or OEM Google is trying to protect. It is it heart of the business (Search) is challenged by the Rockstar. Thats why Google is so much but heated.

2. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

If Google didn't want the patents to be asserted against it, why didn't it outbid the Apple-led group that won the bidding war? Did Google really think Apple wasn't going to assert the patents? Puhleeease. They are acting like they were born last night.

10. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

The patents are worth 1 billion. To apple and MS they are worth an extra 3.5 billion to NOT be in Google's hands. Joke's on MS and apple if they are declared to be a patent troll with the new patent law being passed.

52. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Rockstar would be the one who would be subject to the new legislation if it passes. And, that would give Google standing to file suit against Rockstar. Legislation hasn't been signed into law yet, so Google may suffer the same result that Apple got trying to go after Lodsys - bupkis.

12. Kjayhawk

Posts: 294; Member since: Oct 07, 2010

Well Rock star is made up of like 8 multi billion dollar companies right? So Google really couldn't compete. Plus you are going to have to look it up but when this story first hit You can read that a similar court case appeared to what happened to rock star and Google and it was ruled that the damages can not be more than how much a company purchased the patents for which is 4.5 billion

14. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Google bid to buy the patents but lost. They couldn't compete with all the companies that trolled together.

17. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

And don't forget they paid 12 billion for Moto not much earlier. They can't spare that many billions.

49. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Google was invited to be part of the Rockstar consortium, but they opted out because they wanted the patents for themselves.

41. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

It was a blind auction, they bidded once and did not win.

47. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

no it wasnt

3. papss unregistered

So now google is getting in on the sueing... great..

18. Ant34

Posts: 193; Member since: Aug 10, 2013

It's a defensive maneuver as opposed to what Apple, Microsoft and the rest of the consortium is doing.

29. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

well the only people who have sued google are oracle... so any action will still be offensive... passively or actively & will enter google into the war

34. papss unregistered

Keep tellinv yourself that fandroid... sueing is sueing but nice spin on reality.

38. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Killing is also killing....but killing self defense is usually looked at in a different light.

40. papss unregistered

Sure.. defense?wow you really need to stop drinking the fanboy koolaid. This is no different than what apple is doing but nice try. They didnt want to pay up and others did. Simple as them being like all cell mfg mentality.

45. Ant34

Posts: 193; Member since: Aug 10, 2013

The consortium bought the patents for their patent trolling needs and offensively went after Google and Android OEMs. Google is now trying to protect itself and its partners against the patent trolling.

48. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Youre the one who sounds like a fan who wants a damper on android to see your OS rise. They're suing to defend themselves.

53. papss unregistered

Just stop .. you sound ridiculous

55. ogre150

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 16, 2010

Google is suing to stop court action in future. I don't think they'll get damages or anything. So it's not the same as Apple suing Samsung for instance. Apple sued to make Samsung pay. Google is suing to keep Rockstar from making companies pay a troll. Completely different.

4. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

I thought they referred to the maker of gta5...

20. Desmund

Posts: 74; Member since: Nov 01, 2012

Waiting on someone to say that lol. Although at that point I guess people would be sueing because they made so much money Rockstar that is.

7. N-fanboy

Posts: 543; Member since: Jan 12, 2013

Don't really care, all are d!cks. C@ckblocking each other.

9. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009


11. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

When did Google, Asus or HTC or LG and others sue apple?

27. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Nokia and Apple fans are delusional. They somehow see Apple and Nokia as the victims when they are the aggressors and cry babies.

35. papss unregistered

I expect no less from you.. nice spin on reality.

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