Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st Nov 2013 09:34 UTC
Legal

A new front opened today in the patent wars between large technology companies, as a consortium that owns thousands of patents from the Nortel bankruptcy auction filed suit against Google and other manufacturers alleging infringement. Rockstar, which is owned jointly by Apple, Blackberry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony, filed suit in US District Court in Texas. In addition to Google, the consortium has alleged infringement by Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE.

[...]

Since then, as recounted by Wired, Rockstar has been devoted to reverse-engineering the patents and looking for evidence of infringement. "Pretty much anybody out there is infringing," John Veschi, the CEO of Rockstar, told the magazine. "It would be hard for me to envision that there are high-tech companies out there that don't use some of the patents in our portfolio."

I told you Apple and Microsoft were patent trolls. They specifically set up a satellite company that owns nothing but patents, with the sole goal of attacking the competition in the courtroom instead of the market. What a bunch of low-life scum.

I'm surprised by Sony there, though. They use Android themselves.

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Just a slight difference
by wocowboy on Fri 1st Nov 2013 09:52 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

There is a difference in this situation, in that the lawsuits are being brought about by companies that actually USE and MAKE products that utilize these patents, and not by NPE's, non-producing entities that only hold patent portfolios and never make an actual product or use the patents involved for anything other than bringing lawsuits against companies that use them. That's a rather significant difference.

This doesn't make the lawsuits any less egregious, but it is a different situation. Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and the rest, make products that utilize these patents and, under current law, deserve to be compensated for their use if indeed they are being infringed, as the courts will determine.

Edited 2013-11-01 09:53 UTC

Reply Score: -1

RE: Just a slight difference
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 1st Nov 2013 09:54 in reply to "Just a slight difference"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The consortium, however, makes no products. They are the patent troll - funded by Apple, Microsoft, and others. This is a common tactic, and it's still patent trolling.

Reply Parent Score: 15

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's a common tactic: outsourcing.

All these companies have outsourced the patent investigation and legal actions to a single company.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Just a slight difference
by Nelson on Fri 1st Nov 2013 10:29 in reply to "RE: Just a slight difference"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Its a common, underhanded tactic to avoid counter litigation but patent trolling it is not. That word had a narrow definition that this does not fit.

The Rockstar Consortium actually has former Nortel employees working there and the stakeholders are just the major parties that facilitated the purchase.

That said, I don't really like it when companies set up shell companies like this. Google (and its OEMs) are now in a very precarious situation. These are very capable and dangerous patents.

Some kind of licensing deal will probably have to come of this, hopefully not enough to make Android a non viable option.

Reply Parent Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Sorry but you are wrong, if you want to go by that logic then ALL major corps are by default patent trolls since they nearly all have their patents owned by research divisions that don't actually produce anything.

If you want to complain about something complain about the legal and tax systems that make turning a single company into a big convoluted mess pretty much SOP if you don't want to get pounded by taxes or buried in lawsuits. By splitting up the companies like that you can have one part of a company engaged in a legal battle without dragging the entire company into it, hence why they all split up the companies like that.

As for so called patent trolling? Let us not forget that Google left the Motorola patent suits going when they bought it so they don't have clean hands either and unlike NPEs Nortel did spend hundreds of millions in research to produce those patents which they then licensed with their designs, no different from ARM and nvidia on that front.

Reply Parent Score: 4

wocowboy Member since:
2006-06-01

No, the consortium makes no products, but other patent trolls are made up simply of groups of lawyers that buy up patents with the sole purpose of bringing lawsuits, never producing products, a completely different thing. This consortium is owned by Microsoft, Apple, Sony, et all. Again, a completely different animal.

Reply Parent Score: 2

bowkota Member since:
2011-10-12

How hypocritic of you ignoring the fact that Google bought Motorolla and continued on going litigation against many other companies, while abusing FRAND licenses.
Not surprised...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Just a slight difference
by Deviate_X on Fri 1st Nov 2013 12:57 in reply to "Just a slight difference"
Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

Lets not forget history: Google was invited to join the group, but instead tried to buy the patents for themselves alone (remember them bidding PI http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110701/23392814939/google-tried-...).

This was simply error of business on the part of Google, sulking about being pressured into a consortium with Microsoft and Apple.

http://cdn.macnn.com/news/1108/microsoft-patentletterlg.jpg

Edited 2013-11-01 13:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Just a slight difference
by Nelson on Fri 1st Nov 2013 13:47 in reply to "RE: Just a slight difference"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

They wouldn't pay more than $4.4 billion for Nortel's patent arsenal but wasted $12 billion on Motorola for broadly licensed or FRAND patents.

Amateur hour at Mountain View.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Just a slight difference
by tkeith on Fri 1st Nov 2013 15:46 in reply to "RE: Just a slight difference"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

You're either naive or not getting the full story. The group was setup with the intent to use the patents as a weapon. Google has publicly stated that they don't think patents should be used offensively. So why would they join a group created to do just that?

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE: Just a slight difference
by duplex80 on Fri 1st Nov 2013 15:12 in reply to "Just a slight difference"
duplex80 Member since:
2011-05-11

It's important to note that prior to acquiring these patents, Microsoft, Apple, Sony et al were themselves infringing on said patents.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Just a slight difference
by tkeith on Fri 1st Nov 2013 15:48 in reply to "Just a slight difference"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Rockstar doesn't make things, but Microsoft, apple. ect do. They are using Rockstar to attack their competitors, but don't think that it can be used against them. If it's not a "patent troll" then it's something just as bad.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE: Just a slight difference
by wibbit on Sat 2nd Nov 2013 08:20 in reply to "Just a slight difference"
wibbit Member since:
2006-03-22

In some way's I agree with you, in that a group of companies that are active in the market set up a separate company to pool their resources, and launch these attacks.

However, the impression I have is that they them selves (either the the individual companies, or the new one), have not actually done much if any of the research, it is using patents that they bought, for the purpose of attacking the competition.

I don't know if I would refer to this as patent trolling, but it's certainly unsavoury.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Just a slight difference
by stimut on Sun 3rd Nov 2013 04:14 in reply to "Just a slight difference"
stimut Member since:
2012-10-08

There is a difference in this situation, in that the lawsuits are being brought about by companies that actually USE and MAKE products that utilize these patents, and not by NPE's

Yes and no. These lawsuits are being brought about by Rockstar, an NPE. From this article http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/patent-war-goes-nuclear-...

Part of Rockstar's strategy is avoiding a patent countersuit by not having any operating businesses. Essentially, the company wants to enjoy the same advantage patent trolls have, even though it's owned by direct Google competitors like Apple and Microsoft.

-----

Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and the rest, make products that utilize these patents and, under current law, deserve to be compensated for their use if indeed they are being infringed, as the courts will determine.

Although it could be argued that if a court rules a certain way, then it is fair and right (and that companies "deserve to be compensated"), I feel that if the laws being used to come to the decision are biased and unfair, then the ruling itself will also be biased and unfair. Personally, I think the current software patent laws are broken in a fundamental way, and so just about any ruling that occurs is not justified.

Reply Parent Score: 1