Google Petitions CA Court For Relief From Apple-Backed Patent Lawsuit
December 26, 2013

Google Petitions CA Court For Relief From Apple-Backed Patent Lawsuit

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Google has petitioned a California court to rule that it does not directly or indirectly infringe on multiple patents held by a consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft and others in response to a lawsuit filed against Android partners in Texas, various media outlets are reporting.

According to John Ribeiro of PCWorld, the issue dates back to October lawsuits filed by Rockstar Consortium -- a patent group also backed by BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony -- in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The seven patents at the center of the issue were acquired from Nortel Networks by Rockstar in 2011 after the consortium’s bid of $4.5 billion trumped Google’s. Following the acquisition, Rockstar filed lawsuits accusing Samsung Electronics, HTC and five other companies of infringing upon some or all of them, Ribeiro said.

In response, Google filed a complaint with the US District Court for the Northern District of California claiming that the lawsuits “have placed a cloud on the Android platform, threatened Google’s business and relationships with its customers and partners and its sales of Nexus-branded Android devices, and created a justiciable controversy between Google and Rockstar.”

Google described Rockstar as a firm that produces no products and does not exercise their patents, but rather “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 Mountain View, California-based firm also said that the consortium was targeting only manufacturers of Android-based devices.

Furthermore, Google has claimed that neither the Android operating system nor the Nexus-brand devices that it markets directly infringe upon any of the patents listed in the lawsuit. It has petitioned the court to declare that the platform and the devices do not infringe upon any of Rockstar’s intellectual property.

“In the past we have seen how companies such as Apple and Microsoft go after Android manufacturers individually, and for the most part despite the whole ‘Mac versus PC’ debate, Apple and Microsoft have never really had too much legal trouble with one another,” Ubergizmo’s Tyler Lee wrote on Wednesday. “With the Rockstar patent group and the combined patents that they own, we expect that they could give other tech companies a whole lot of trouble and grief.”

In related news, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Tuesday that Rockstar Consortium was internally discussing whether or not it should sell off a portion of the Nortel Networks patents at the heart of the current legal dispute with Google.

The news agency, citing unidentified sources said to have knowledge of the consortium’s plans, stated that Rockstar is wanting to move the patents because they have had little success securing lucrative licensing deals for them. Back in July, the consortium sold a suite of patents to intellectual property firm Spherix for an undisclosed amount of money plus an additional $1 million in stock, according to Bloomberg.