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



43. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

So true. BAN on the GALAXY NEXUS, LG pays M$ for each handset sold. Apple doesn't want to compete because they are afraid of loosing consumers while their stock slowly plummet.

37. techguyone

Posts: 214; Member since: May 18, 2013

We should all be very careful here, this kind of thing is unprecedented in history, if other industries did what these smartphone ones are, we'd all be living in caves with zero innovation. Regardless of who did what/who is right/wrong, the fact is that this industry is being stifled by these endless, mostly completely pointless lawsuits, and in the end the real losers will be ... us. I seriously seriously wish that common sense will prevail and all these nebulous, dubious 'concepts' that are being patented - by anyone. Are revoked, and the anti troll patent laws becoming so strong that it will deter any troll company for trying to use them.THEN perhaps we'll go back to life as it was before 2007, because this is just crap, greedy lawyers milking the system, clearly biassed courtrooms making nonsense of justice, egomaniacal CEO's causing mayhem, it all needs to stop. Full stop.

32. rantao333

Posts: 346; Member since: May 21, 2013

Apparently , google is the patent troll here. google has been given chance to join apple & microsoft to purchased Nortel's patents together. but turn out google rejected the offer. and google greedy enough to try to swallow nortel by his own and end up being out bid by rockstar. every others companies are paying money to enjoy the patents from Nortel. Only google is not paying a dime and yet using it as it is free. And now google start to sue these playesr that pay billions of dollar just because he worry that they will threaten his position???

36. papss unregistered

You act surprised by this? Bu bu but in the eyes of fandroids google does no wrong.

39. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Looking strictly at hypotheticals... Where has Google got a patent and went on the offensive? Maybe Google didnt wanna be part of whats going on now. Now they are playing defense.

42. papss unregistered

So other mfg paid up for the patent and should get the benefit from it and not google. They're just being ridiculous like others on the way they handle business. You trying to make it look alright is almost pathetic really and i cant believe you would attempt.

51. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Yeah, and Nortel was suing Google for search patents and gui patents, right? Oh wait, they were in the business of telephony, not patent trolling! Glad you think the patent system works just great when a bunch of companies form a non practicing entity to sue others without any recourse!

54. papss unregistered

Your version of the truth is laughable.. thanks

56. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

As is your retardedness.. thanks (sic)

50. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Google wasn't offered any chance to join apple + MS, besides what would that have accomplished anyhow. You are confusing MS bullsht message about joining the consortium of Novell's patents, NOT Nortel's. Google and their partners were outbid. The patents aren't worth 4.5 billion either.

28. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

Add to the fact that Rockstar only targets Android phones made by the various OEMs (Samsung, HTC, etc.), yet they don't target non-Android phones made by the same OEMs (Samsung and HTC has made phones with Windows OS for example yet those are not on the list even though they supposedly use the same technologies in the patent suit). This is an attack solely against Android by Rockstar.

33. rantao333

Posts: 346; Member since: May 21, 2013

its because window / window OS already paid the for it. i really doubt u had read the article.

23. winter_hat

Posts: 110; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

I'm not trying to troll here, but Google literally doesn't do anything well. What do they do well? Maybe Maps and make money...they do those well. Their typical work can be witnessed by the Youtube/Google+ sh*t storm. Total incompetence. Any other company pulls that one, their stock plummets. We bend over and ask Google for more please.

24. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

"I'm not trying to troll here..." Ah, but you are.

26. winter_hat

Posts: 110; Member since: Feb 04, 2013


25. crazymonkey05

Posts: 189; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

Google wanted to unify all their services so you can have one account to rule them all. I personly love the YouTube Google+ merge I think its a great idea but unfortantly the world doesn't. And on the topic I don't believe Sony has anything to do with the actual lawsuit other than being a part of rockstar. I haven't seen Sony file one patent claim against Google so yea. I believe its just apple and M$ leading the trial

21. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Apple and the nut bunch better be careful. I can easily see Android OEM's just selling hardware and when you get home just download the base OS from Google and the drivers from the OEM. Just like you would a home built windows computer. Hell, I would prefer it this way.

19. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I was wondering when Rockstar was going to rear its ugly head. This was a sad article to have to read on Christmas Eve.

16. woodshop20

Posts: 459; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

No, Sony! You too? your father.

46. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

That is funny, because only 5 years ago that would have sounded absurd.

13. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Merry Christmas folks! Anyone wanna go bowling?

15. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Nope. Drinking sounds more fun. Thanks for the offer though.

22. g2a5b0e unregistered

Pretty sure you can do both simultaneously.

8. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Merry Chirstmas motherf*cker!

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.

30. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

HTC, moto, samsung, and nokia all sued apple i believe nokia was the only one to sue apple before being sued however

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