Report: Google files lawsuit against patent-holding company Rockstar

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Google has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Rockstar Consortium. Rockstar is a patent-holding company that is jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, BlackBerry, and Ericsson. The Rockstar Consortium acquired around 4,000 patents for around $4.5 billion, mostly from the bankruptcy of Canadian telecommunications company Nortel Networks.

This past October, Rockstar filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google, Samsung, LG, HTC, and several other Android OEMs. Google is refusing to pay without a fight so they filed a countersuit this month.

Google’s filing states:
“Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation.”

The suit also called out Rockstar for disproportionately targeting Android despite covering a wider range of technologies within the patent portfolio. TheVerge pointed out that there is an entire section of the filing called “Rockstar’s Campaign Against Android.”

There is an entire patent war surrounding the Android platform. Apple is fighting Samsung in a separate major lawsuit regarding design patents. Microsoft is able to leverage their large patent war-chest to force Android manufacturers into paying them royalties.

In related news, the Rockstar Consortium also wants to sell off some of the patents in their portfolio, but is having a hard time according to Bloomberg.

Rockstar reportedly sold seven mobile communications patents to intellectual property company Spherix this past July. Spherix reportedly gave the consortium $1 million in stock, a percentage of future profits, and an undisclosed amount of cash. Bloomberg reports that the patents involved in the litigation against Google and the Android manufacturers are not up for sale.

[Source: GigaOM/Bloomberg]