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Google, Samsung and others sued by Rockstar consortium over Nortel patents

post #1 of 88
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After losing an auction for Nortel's cache of patents in 2011, Google is being sued by the Rockstar consortium, of which Apple is a major member, for infringing those same properties.

Associative
Illustration from one patent in suit regarding an "Associative Search Engine."


In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Thursday, as first reported by Reuters, Rockstar is asserting seven patents against Google from the thousands it won in a Nortel patent auction in 2011.

Ironically, the Internet search giant was one of the auction's main bidders, but was ultimately outbid by Rockstar, which paid $4.5 billion for the properties. The consortium is consists of Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Sony and Ericsson.

The seven patents being leveraged relate to methods of associating Internet search terms with advertisements, the central feature of Google's ad businesses, such as AdWords.

Rockstar won a cache of 6,000 patents from Nortel when the company put its valuable assets on the auction block after filing for bankruptcy in 2009. Google kicked out a first bid of $900 million in 2011, which quickly multiplied to as much as $4.4 billion.

Many believed Apple and its partners were interested in Nortel's patents covering advanced wireless technology, key to the companies' smartphone businesses.

Prior to Google's initial bid, the U.S. Department of Justice conducted an antitrust investigation into the company's interest in the patents, but found no issues and let bidding commence. The DOJ was more concerned with Apple's interest in the patents, as the body feared it would use them offensively against competitors. In the end, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission gave Apple the green light to pursue Nortel's treasure trove.

When bidding completed, it was reported that Apple paid a huge portion of Rockstar's final tally, some $2.6 billion, eclipsing input from Blackberry, Sony and others.

Rockstar is seeking an award for past and future damages. Due to Google's allegedly willful infringement of the seven patents, the consortium is also looking for additional damages including attorneys' fees and costs associated with the suit.

post #2 of 88
And so it begins...
post #3 of 88
If Google loses, what are its options? Pay royalties on each use going forward? License the technology? Or invent a new solution?

Hope the energy drink company doesn't sue the consortium.
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post #4 of 88
Going after Google's core business is a nice touch.
post #5 of 88
Did not see that coming...

Interesting
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post #6 of 88
Love that they filed the suit in the eastern district of Texas. I hope I live long enough to see the final outcome.
post #7 of 88

Looks like Google has their hands full...

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post #8 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

If Google loses, what are its options? Pay royalties on each use going forward? License the technology? Or invent a new solution?

Hope the energy drink company doesn't sue the consortium.


Unlikely with what has been happening, that they are SEPs. So I suspect that there will be some crosslicensing with Google to Apple's benefit, rather than demanding a work around or royalties. As Google is in the hot seat, it will likely tread carefully right now for its patents through Motorola. Samsung... Personally, if I was Apple, I would try to hurt Samsung badly. You may have heard that they are not friends hahaha.

post #9 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeeJay2012 View Post


Unlikely with what has been happening, that they are SEPs. So I suspect that there will be some crosslicensing to Apple's benefit, rather than demanding a work around or royalties. As Google is in the hot seat, it will likely tread carefully right now for its patents through Motorola. Personally, if I was Apple, I would try to hurt Google badly. They are not friends.
Thermonuclear.
post #10 of 88
I thought the Google shills said Apple was "afraid" of Google and that's why they never sue them.

So much for that.

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post #11 of 88
There may turn out to be some unanticipated expenses for using the "free" operating system. If Samsung is really moving away from using Android, this suit may hasten the process.
post #12 of 88
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post
Hope the energy drink company doesn't sue the consortium.

 

 

The first three-way lawsuit in history: the Rockstar Consortium v. Rockstar Games v. Rockstar Inc.

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post #13 of 88
Heehe%u2026 time for those evil thieves in Mountain View to start paying up! And not to mention about those Korean criminal organization known collectively as Samsung! Both deserve to pay every cent after they're found of infringing these patents!
post #14 of 88

Don't forget punitive damages! If any company deserves punitive damages for willful infringement of intellectual property rights, it's Google.

post #15 of 88

Rockstar is a patent holding non-practicing entity (NPE) -- and the suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the patent troll capital of the world.  Nice!  I'm pretty sure there will be similar lawsuits coming to the Dusseldorf / Mannheim courts of Germany -- the paten troll capital of EU!  LOL!!

 

Well, now we could officially call Apple a proud parent of a "patent troll."

 

Now, I don't see Samsung named in the complaint, anybody know what's going on here?  (or is it just another AI click-bait?)


Edited by tooltalk - 10/31/13 at 7:16pm
post #16 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post
 

Well, now we could officially call Apple a proud parent of a "patent troll."

 

Hardly. Nortel used to make products, and since they are gone all that's left is their patent portfolio. And Nortel created all their IP through extensive R&D - they didn't go around acquiring patents simply for the purpose of suing.

 

And Rockstar licenses all their FRAND pledged patents fairly - unlike Samsung or Google/Motorola who are known patent abusers, proven in court.

 

Then again, what else would a tool say anyway?

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post #17 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

There may turn out to be some unanticipated expenses for using the "free" operating system. If Samsung is really moving away from using Android, this suit may hasten the process.

 

I don't think this suit has much to do with Android.   If you look at the patents listed, they are all  "search" and "ads" related patents.  I still don't understand how Samsung made to the headline. 

post #18 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

If Google loses, what are its options? Pay royalties on each use going forward? License the technology? Or invent a new solution?

Hope the energy drink company doesn't sue the consortium.

If ...

No, they will lose!

 

Their options?

Larry will have to bend over!

 

License? Yep. No way out this time!

 

Invent?

Who? Google? They don't even know how to spell it! 

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post #19 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Going after Google's core business is a nice touch.

Yes my friend. The very same core business which makes them billions to spend on their copy machines and release them for free.

 

No more freebies for samsung for sure .... ;)

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post #20 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post
 

Hardly. Nortel used to make products, and since they are gone all that's left is their patent portfolio. And Nortel created all their IP through extensive R&D - they didn't go around acquiring patents simply for the purpose of suing.


At the peak, Nortel actually had a bigger R&D budget ($6 Billion) than Apple currently has.

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post #21 of 88

and so it begins...

post #22 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

I don't think this suit has much to do with Android.   If you look at the patents listed, they are all  "search" and "ads" related patents.  I still don't understand how Samsung made to the headline. 

Perhaps Samsung uses the patented technology in displaying ads from google on its phones?
post #23 of 88

The thing is that these Nortel patents has been known and used by the wireless industry since the day the patents were approved. Many, if not most, are SEP. And the I way I understood the auction agreement is that anyone that had an agreement to license any of Nortel patents before the auction will keep that agreement after auction, when the patents changes hand. So the question is ..... was Google licensing the Nortel patents they were using before the auction? (It wouldn't surprise me if they weren't.)  Or did they decide to stop paying for the license after they lost the auction? (Which brings up willful infringement.) Or maybe the patents involved pertain to the wireless hardware (and the program in imbedded chips), so it's more about Google recent Nexus devices than it is about Android. 

post #24 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidW View Post

The thing is that these Nortel patents has been known and used by the wireless industry since the day the patents were approved. Many, if not most, are SEP...

I don't believe the 7 patents being asserted are SEP, they are related to ads so they aren't standards related and Google is in trouble.
post #25 of 88
Yeah
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I don't believe the 7 patents being asserted are SEP, they are related to ads so they aren't standards related and Google is in trouble.
Yeah, Apple is more than aware of the perils of SEP suits after the bash up with Samsung.

That being said I grow so weary of these attorney enriching lawsuits. This fight will be almost certainly become an Apple v Google matchup in the media as they like to simplify everything to a 'Goodie v Baddie ZOMG!!' story. The other players will be forgotten.
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post #26 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post
 

Rockstar is a patent holding non-practicing entity (NPE) -- and the suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the patent troll capital of the world.  Nice!  I'm pretty sure there will be similar lawsuits coming to the Dusseldorf / Mannheim courts of Germany -- the paten troll capital of EU!  LOL!!

 

Well, now we could officially call Apple a proud parent of a "patent troll."

 

Now, I don't see Samsung named in the complaint, anybody know what's going on here?  (or is it just another AI click-bait?)

 

From the Reuters article:

 

"Rockstar, the consortium that bought the Nortel patents for $4.5 billion, sued Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, HTC Corp, Huawei and four other companies for patent infringement in U.S. District Court in Texas."

post #27 of 88
Oh, the irony.

Rockstar suing someone for Grand Theft:

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post #28 of 88

I wonder if the Rockstar member pushing for this lawsuit isn't Apple, but Microsoft. Apple is flourishing quite nicely despite the copying of Samsung and the Android coalition. Apple is likely to continue making shit-tons of money going the same path they're on.

 

But Microsoft is getting its ass handed to it in the mobile market, and they've always been much more ruthless in business practices than Apple. Microsoft may be looking to equalize the playing field a little in competing against Android.

post #29 of 88
And this, kids, is why you keep a massive war chest. To crush your enemies and hear the lamentations of their women.
Edited by SpamSandwich - 10/31/13 at 11:47pm

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post #30 of 88

Steve Jobs was alive when Apple bid for the Nortel portfolio as part of the Rockstar consortium.

 

That means that he spent $2.6 billion of Apple's cash to acquire the weapons for the thermonuclear war that he promised.  He probably got Tim Cook to follow through on this promise.

 

The war just started.  

post #31 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by kharvel View Post

Steve Jobs was alive when Apple bid for the Nortel portfolio as part of the Rockstar consortium.

That means that he spent $2.6 billion of Apple's cash to acquire the weapons for the thermonuclear war that he promised.  He probably got Tim Cook to follow through on this promise.

The war just started.  

It's going to be awesome to watch.

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post #32 of 88

I've just looked at CNET's coverage, the comment section seems to be astroturfed by Scott Wilson

 

Obviously his masters are upset

post #33 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Hardly. Nortel used to make products, and since they are gone all that's left is their patent portfolio. And Nortel created all their IP through extensive R&D - they didn't go around acquiring patents simply for the purpose of suing.

And Rockstar licenses all their FRAND pledged patents fairly - unlike Samsung or Google/Motorola who are known patent abusers, proven in court.

Then again, what else would a tool say anyway?

Rockstar is fairly licensing their SEP's? Where did you get that from?

It didn't come from Rockstar. They claim they aren't bound by any promises to fairly license SEP's, avoid aggressive attacks on competitors using these patents or any other promises made by Apple or Microsoft so as to get the DoJ to approve the sale in the first place. There's been more than a few articles about ti over the past year. Here's one:
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/rockstar/

According to statements made by Veschi, the Rockstar CEO, he met with DoJ in February. To quote from an IAM interview with him "the only commitment that Rockstar itself gave to the DoJ (and the Federal Trade Commission) was that it would operate autonomously. This, explains Veschi, was so that the shareholders "as operating companies cannot pick and choose who we will target". Rockstar made no undertaking as to how it would license FRAND-encumbered patents."

The only limit was one put in place a couple years back by the Nortel bankruptcy court who specified that existing SEP license agreements would have to be honored if transferred. There were no rules or limitations on new licenses and Rockstar Consortium claims no obligation to honor any promises made by the original group that purchased the Nortel patent package. Florian Mueller claims Rockstar doesn't even have an obligation to honor those existing SEP contracts and is free to demand renegotiation if they chose. The rules that applied to Apple/Microsoft when they bought them don't apply to the IP transfers to Rockstar.

So Rockstar Consortium is the epitomy of an NPE, what many refer to a a patent troll. They exist solely to get the maximum returns from monetizing patents, in this case donated by Microsoft and Apple who benefit from the resultant lawsuits, and with no products of their own are immune from IP counter-suits. IMO a sneaky move on the part of Bidco group but well-played from a business perspective. Apple and the others get plausible deniability of any responsibility for Rockstar's actions.
Edited by Gatorguy - 11/1/13 at 6:14am
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post #34 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post
 

 

Hardly. Nortel used to make products, and since they are gone all that's left is their patent portfolio. And Nortel created all their IP through extensive R&D - they didn't go around acquiring patents simply for the purpose of suing.

 

 

Yeah, but Rockstar is not Nortel and doesn't make products. Isn't a patent troll usually defined as a non-practicing entity whose raison d'etre is to collect various patents and sue others?

post #35 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by d4NjvRzf View Post
 

Yeah, but Rockstar is not Nortel and doesn't make products. Isn't a patent troll usually defined as a non-practicing entity whose raison d'etre is to collect various patents and sue others?

yeah, thats it. Apple, microsoft and the others don't make anything.... you are so correct

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post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Rockstar is fairly licensing their SEP's? Where did you get that from?

It didn't come from Rockstar. They claim they aren't bound by any promises to fairly license, or any other promises for that matter, made by Apple or Microsoft so get the DoJ to approve the sale in the first place. There's been more than a few articles about ti over the past year.
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/rockstar/

Rockstar may not be bound by anything Apple and Microsoft promised when it comes to licensing the Nortel patents they got from them. Not all of the patents are SEP. But they are still bound to fairly license any SEP patents in a FRAND manner. Unless they want to be like  Google and Samsung and lose case after case in a court of law. 

post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogueDogRandy View Post
 

yeah, thats it. Apple, microsoft and the others don't make anything.... you are so correct

Note that the original claim called Apple not a patent troll per se but rather "the proud parent of a patent troll," which has not been contradicted. Rockstar is not Apple or Microsoft but merely a shell company. It would be the same situation as if Samsung were pulling the strings behind the scenes at VimetX.

post #38 of 88

We all know Google is on their way up and nothing will stop them, just like Apple.

OEMs and Microsoft, on the other hand... 

 

Let's be honest: Android is absolutely fantastic and the best option for those that can't afford expensive phones. It gave billions of users the chance of having a smartphone, something Apple is not interested in. I just find it fantastic how Google found a way to make money from advertisers and other companies, while providing fantastic products. Some would say "information this", "privacy that", as if it is some sort of conspiracy. For those: Grow up and look around you.

 

No one is being "violated" on anyway, just like happens outside of your or my house. The internet is a public space, and that's great.

 

Since Apple doesn't give options for billions of people that want and can afford smartphones for less than 400$ (and don't like to get raped by carriers) and Android just gets more and more relevant, I wish Apple would support it like they do with Windows. At least try to earn some money from it while porting itunes and other software so I can get my information synced properly. After all, it Apple really believes that they have a superior product, no one would run away from iOS and only advantages are visible.

 

As far as patents go, I don't like the idea of buying dying companies just for patents. That's irrational and wrong. Besides, Apple has the right to sue others for infringement using their own patents, since companies like Samsung clearly copied them. But Google? I don't know.

 

Having said that, even if Google was guilty, they did the right thing, from a consumer point of view. What did Apple lost? Billions of dollars? Looks like they have more than enough, already.

post #39 of 88
The ONE thing that I do not want to read in 20 to 30 years is an autobiography of Eric Schmidt admitting his regret, shame, sorrow, whatever for taking Apple's mobile computing ideas to Google while he was on the Apple board.

Since he has chosen to stay quiet about that time then stay quiet forever. Do not let the world know anything.
post #40 of 88

Google is the patent troll here.  They sued Apple first via the Motorola subsidiary. 

 

Google infringed on Apple's patents, and flagrantly.

 

Google demanded that Apple pay absurd fees for FRAND patents.

 

I'm glad to see Rockstar going after Google's core business, since Google hypocritically violates others patents while demanding non-FRAND terms for FRAND patents of its own (that it only got by acquisition.)

 

As far as I'm aware the only patent google actually invented is the original page rank, which is actually owned by Stanford, not Google. 

 

So, of course, patent abuser, patent violator, they run around calling others who actually invent things "trolls". 

 

But google is the troll. 

 

Whether Eric Schmidt shows remorse for his crimes or not, he's still a piece of dirt.   Personally, I'd like to see him charged, he committed a crime by violating his duties as a board member, and belongs in jail.  Short of that, I'd settle for his bankruptcy.  Alas, I know justice won't be served in this case. 

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