Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Dec 2013 18:19 UTC
Legal

Google has decided to fight back against the Apple and Microsoft-backed patent troll Rockstar. It has filed a lawsuit, asking the court to state that the Android platform does not infringe any of the patents the patent troll is asserting against Android, Google, and Android OEMs. Google describes Rockstar's trolling in no uncertain terms.

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.

A very interesting tidbit is found further down in the legal documents - Google claims that Rockstar actually contacted companies that use Android, asking them to... Stop using Android.

On information and belief, Rockstar contacted and met with these California-based companies in order to discourage them from continuing to use Google's Android platform in their devices, and to interfere with Google's business relationships.

This Apple and Microsoft shell company is way, way dirtier than we already knew.

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Rockstar is justified
by themwagency on Fri 27th Dec 2013 18:33 UTC
themwagency
Member since:
2013-03-06

Moving past the problematic ideology so often propped up by this site and many of it's visitors that software patents somehow = bad, I don't see how anything they did is "dirty." Far from it. This is simply the wheels of justice moving... however slowly they roll... to right a longstanding wrong.

This is not exactly an example of a patent troll company that doesn't create anything yet sues based solely on ownership of software patents. Each company associated with rockstar sells a phone and has a vested interest in the recognition of these patents. Rockstar itself doesn't create a product but the companies participating in the rockstar company absolutely do. At best its a grey area but far from the black and white issue presented in the summary.

With that out of the way, Rockstar paid a very healthy sum to own these patents. If you own the patents then you have the opportunity to grant licensing opportunities to select companies or to none at all.

Similarly, I don't see how telling my competition to stop making their product is somehow bad be it because it does a dis-service to my business as a whole or because the competing product utilizes patents that I own.

Android copied the competition when it was established AND it utilizes patents owned by another company. Google's business model depends on taking the research done by others and giving it to other companies.

When the infringed party takes issue with it of course Google is going to call them names such as patent troll and call upon every member of the technology press to come to their defense but only because that is really the only defense they have.

I know it was a long shot but I hoped this site would take the high road. So much for that idea.

Edited 2013-12-27 18:50 UTC

Reply Score: -10

RE: Rockstar is justified
by shmerl on Fri 27th Dec 2013 18:36 in reply to "Rockstar is justified"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Moving past the problematic ideology so often propped up by this site and many of it's visitors that software patents somehow = bad, I don't see how anything they did is "dirty."


If you don't consider software patents bad, and protection racket and privateering dirty practices (and Rockstar is exactly that - patent privateer, a thug company working on behalf of MS and Apple, so they could be shielded from retaliation), there is nothing really to discuss.

Edited 2013-12-27 18:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 11

v RE[2]: Rockstar is justified
by themwagency on Fri 27th Dec 2013 18:49 in reply to "RE: Rockstar is justified"
RE[2]: Rockstar is justified
by bassbeast on Mon 30th Dec 2013 01:04 in reply to "RE: Rockstar is justified"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Uhhhh...you DO know there is a reason why Steve Jobs to his dying breath wanted to "Go nuclear" on Android, yes? Have you seen the before and after iPhone pictures of Android?

Look I really don't care what you think of patents and full disclosure my smartphone is an Android but for Google to claim somebody is trolling when they bold faced stole every idea in Android? That takes some really big brass ones.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Rockstar is justified
by abraxas on Fri 27th Dec 2013 19:40 in reply to "Rockstar is justified"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

I know this is going to sound condescending but oh well. I think anyone who thinks software patents are not something bad on the whole are either naive about the software engineering process or have a vested interest in software patents.

For example this is one of the patents that Google is infringing on "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network". Patent number 6,098,065. Read the entire patent. It violates the spirit of the patent system if not the very letter of patent law. It is not specific, but intentionally generic to encompass virtually any advertising based on search. There is no specific implementation to reference. The description is a trivial database lookup at best. It is not unique in any way.

The patent system was not invented for people to patent ideas, horde them, and then force people to pay them for owning an idea. Patents are there to protect people who actually invest time and money into making something unique and non-trivial. It was put into place to give people an incentive to invest in new and improved ways of doing things. Software patents do exactly the opposite. They inhibit people from developing and improving systems because an idea contained within them is patented even if it has never been marketed, or even created and never will be. What is the upside to that? Making a bunch of lawyers rich?

Reply Parent Score: 19

RE[2]: Rockstar is justified
by themwagency on Fri 27th Dec 2013 19:44 in reply to "RE: Rockstar is justified"
themwagency Member since:
2013-03-06

For example this is one of the patents that Google is infringing on "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network".


They should try to challenge the patent in question rather than the company owning it or the system that governs it.

The fact that Google is trying to negate software patents altogether and going after the company trying to have recognition of their patents says to me that they realize that their entire business model is at risk and has to try and knock everybody down beside them if they have to go down for trying to take what didn't belong to them.

Edited 2013-12-27 19:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[2]: Rockstar is justified
by lemur2 on Sat 28th Dec 2013 06:48 in reply to "RE: Rockstar is justified"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I know this is going to sound condescending but oh well. I think anyone who thinks software patents are not something bad on the whole are either naive about the software engineering process or have a vested interest in software patents.

For example this is one of the patents that Google is infringing on "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network". Patent number 6,098,065. Read the entire patent. It violates the spirit of the patent system if not the very letter of patent law. It is not specific, but intentionally generic to encompass virtually any advertising based on search. There is no specific implementation to reference. The description is a trivial database lookup at best. It is not unique in any way.

The patent system was not invented for people to patent ideas, horde them, and then force people to pay them for owning an idea. Patents are there to protect people who actually invest time and money into making something unique and non-trivial. It was put into place to give people an incentive to invest in new and improved ways of doing things. Software patents do exactly the opposite. They inhibit people from developing and improving systems because an idea contained within them is patented even if it has never been marketed, or even created and never will be. What is the upside to that? Making a bunch of lawyers rich?


Spot on. Exactly. Precisely.

Your entire post is utterly worth repeating. Well said.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Rockstar is justified
by Alfman on Fri 27th Dec 2013 20:14 in reply to "Rockstar is justified"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

themwagency,

"This is simply the wheels of justice moving... however slowly they roll... to right a longstanding wrong."

The longstanding wrong is the *patent system*. Assuming google's lawsuit eventually gives way to reforming the patent system, then maybe the "wheels of justice" will eventually get there. Google, will survive no matter what, but these monopolistic software patents over software are catastrophic to smaller developers. We need to do away with the software patents that inhibit innovation by blocking others from access to key technologies that we're not even allowed to implement ourselves using our *own* resources.

Not only is patent related litigation strangling our industry, it's completely unnecessary since software is protected by copyrights and trade secrets which already protects all implementations.


Software patents are not about rewarding innovation, they're being used to solidify the status quo. The patent system has been completely perverted from it's original purpose of maximizing public utility. Now we have companies paying developers & lawyers not to innovate, but to patent every conceivable enumeration in order to block competitors from being able to solve problems without infringing. That's become the driving force behind patent companies; it HAS to be because patents serve no other practical purposes these days. Far more money, time, and resources goes into the patent lawsuits than went into the invention itself.

Edited 2013-12-27 20:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Rockstar is justified
by themwagency on Fri 27th Dec 2013 20:53 in reply to "RE: Rockstar is justified"
themwagency Member since:
2013-03-06

We need to do away with the software patents that inhibit innovation by blocking others from access to key technologies that we're not even allowed to implement ourselves using our *own* resources.


There are costs doing doing business in every industry. Some are larger than others. Debeers is inhibiting OUR industry by buying up all the diamond mines around the world. These are our diamonds and because of their actions it hurts small companies who also want to sell diamonds. Now they have to buy the mines directly from Debeers who sought to buy them first!


Software patents are not about rewarding innovation

In many instances they are. If there is to be any reform it should be in reinforcing the patents that are innovations and doing away with those that are not. It's important to understand that some of these points are highly debatable.

Edited 2013-12-27 20:54 UTC

Reply Parent Score: -1