Google takes aim at Apple-backed, patent trolling Rockstar consortium in new lawsuit

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The patent wars continued today, this time with Google leading the offensive in a countersuit against Rockstar. For those unaware, Rockstar is a patent trolling holding company that just so happens to be owned by such bigwigs as Microsoft, BlackBerry, Sony and yes, Apple.

With more than 6,000 patents at their disposal, it was in late October that the inevitable happened: Rockstar officially threw the first stone, targeting Android OEMs like Samsung, HTC, and LG. According to Rockstar, many of these manufacturers’ devices infringed on several of their patents, some relating to common smartphone features like “mobile hotspot functionality,”  or “Messaging and Notification.” Sounds like just about every smartphone on the planet is infringing, right?

That’s exactly how Google feels. In the countersuit, Google had no problem calling out Rockstar on their BS, saying in their complaint:

“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.”

If there was any question Rockstar has been specifically targeting Android devices — with so many patents, just about any smartphone could be found “infringing” — Google made sure to emphasize this in a section from their filing titled “Rockstar’s Campaign Against Android.” Ha.

It’s clear Google’s suit against Rockstar is aimed at simply defending Android and their business partners, a strategy Google also hoped to employ with their bid of Nortel’s patents back in 2011. There’s no question the Rockstar consortium, at worst, poses a real threat to Android and even the Nexus program. Google asked the court to clear not only Android of any wrong doing, but specifically named their devices like the Nexus 5, 7, and 10.

It’s entirely possible Android OEMs cave and work out licensing deals with Rockstar, but something tells me this is just the beginning of another long, drawn-out legal battle. #AndroidProblems.

[GigaOM | via The Verge]

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  • MindMechanic

    Not sure why Google didn’t just buy BlackBerry (nee RIM) when they were shopping themselves around a few months back. Then they would have owned part of Rockstar, and you can’t sue yourself.

    • KOLIO

      I dunno, seems SONY is playing for both sides, as a mfg of ANDROID devices & belonging to the ROCKSTAR Alliance ….

      • MindMechanic

        Not sure if Sony is actually being sued. Only the big three Korean manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, LG) are mentioned.

        • KOLIO

          I have no idea, but, at 1st glance, seems to be an odd/awkward spot for SONY to be in.

        • phoenix_fire

          since when is htc a korean manufacturer?

          • MindMechanic

            My bad, forgot they were a Taiwanese manufacturer. Point is, not sure if Sony is being sued, as they are not mentioned.

        • Bravadu

          Sony is NOT being sued. They are part of the alliance. Sony’s competitors – ie Sammy, HTC, etc. are being sued

          • squiddy20

            First, there was the suit led by Rockstar a few months ago against Samsung, HTC, LG, etc. Now, there’s a countersuit by Google against Rockstar (a consortium of which includes Sony). Therefore, Sony is indeed being sued by Google, though somewhat indirectly.

      • chris_johns

        Sony is part of rockstar…they arent rockstar…i doubt they have much of a say except to not get themselves sued by the rest of the companies involved in rockstar

      • Henri Conradie

        Two-face should have gone to work for Sony instead of fighting Batman.

  • Michael Quinlan

    It’s sad that the very system that was put in place to promote innovation is being used to stifle it. If you can’t seem to gain any ground on your competition, do what you can to slow them down. Companies who feel outmatched by their competition at every turn will do anything they can to hinder that competition.

  • Biancoceleste

    Is this whole patent thing still relevant?
    Does anyone actually even use a blackberry any more? Does anyone other than hipsters and wannabe trendies even care about the iPhone any more?

    • mcl630

      It’s relevant as long as companies and patents trolls try to use and abuse their patents to stifle innovation. Just because nobody uses Blackberry anymore doesn’t make their patents go away.

    • Henri Conradie

      First off, no uncalled for comments relating to mentioning Canada or Canadian consumers. Secondly, quite a few people still have the iPhone 4S in Western Canada. I think less and less people are as mesmerised by the iPhone as they were 18 months ago and are considering buying something other than an iPhone 5 or 5S. The screen size on the 4S or earlier models seems a bit out of place now, though, going into 2014.

    • Henri Conradie

      Unfortunately North America (as a continent) is still way too “Apple first” in regards to devices than one would like. In Europe and most of Asia way more people have realised HTC, LG, Sony, Samsung etc. can and do make great devices as well.

  • Modman

    Apple can beat a dead horse.
    Wanna be hipsters that dont even make 2 cents an hour
    Piss their money away on it still because they think its cool,
    When its mad lame. Apple cant just compete, even
    When its winning it needs to resort to lowball patent
    Litigation to retain its slowly slipping away monopoly.
    It seems what is cool in the United States “Apple” is very lame
    Everywhere else. Apple knows once it loses brainwashed countries like the US, Samsung is gonna role over them like a steam roller.
    Go Samsung contract with the NBA, Come on shoot for the US Government. Stupid FOSS patent companies calling google a hypocrite for trying to defend itself.

    • spawnbay

      Where do your sentences end? Its like reading the lyrics to an Eminem song. Good points though.

      • J Cav the Great

        he was free styling

    • Henri Conradie

      Get Weird Al in on this subject. Bet he can parody one of Eminem’s songs and rap about patent litigation.

  • Tony Lai

    Too bad we still have retarded judges who would announce Google infringed every little thing that Rockstar has been trolling.

    • Henri Conradie

      If you don’t know what rooting means

      You’re gonna have a bad time.

  • mcl630

    Rockstar Games should sue the Rockstar Alliance for trademark infringement.

    • Henri Conradie

      That would be highly amusing and poetic justice for all who support Google and Android. Lololol.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Not sure the Rockstar people are patent trolls in the strictest sense, after all they actually do make products using the patents in question.