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.
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