Dec, 26 2013


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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