Apple's Rockstar patent consortium denied request to transfer Google suit to Texas

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
A U.S. district judge on Thursday issued an order denying Rockstar's motion to transfer a patent invalidation suit leveled by Google from California to the more patent holder-friendly Eastern District of Texas.

Rockstar Consortium Logo


According to U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken's ruling, Google provided sufficient evidence to keep its countersuit against the patent consortium in California, a substantial win for the Mountain View-based company, reports Reuters.

In 2011, the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium paid $4.5 billion ($2.6 billion of which came from Apple) to outbid a Google-backed group for a cache of Nortel patents. Rockstar, which includes tech heavyweights Microsoft, Blackberry, Sony and Ericsson, then leveraged the properties against Google and seven Android handset makers in an October 2013 suit filed in Eastern District of Texas.

Looking to invalidate the very patents it unsuccessfully bid on just months earlier, Google lodged a countersuit against Rockstar in California. Aside from arguing non-infringement, the move was a tactical one meant to bring jurisdiction back to the West Coast.

Rockstar filed a motion to dismiss the California case, or otherwise transfer proceedings to Texas where the consortium has an office. It should be noted that the co-plaintiff in Rockstar's case, MobileStar, also has a presence in Texas.

However, as noted by ArsTechnica, Judge Wilken's was not persuaded by Rockstar's defense in the California action.

From Judge Wilken's order:
[...] the circumstances here strongly suggest that Rockstar formed MobileStar as a sham entity for the sole purpose of avoiding jurisdiction in all other fora except MobileStar's state of incorporation (Delaware) and claimed principal place of business (Texas). A mere day before it initiated litigation against Google's customers, Rockstar freshly minted MobileStar, with no California contacts, and assigned the asserted patents to that subsidiary. [...] Other evidence suggesting MobileStar maintains no independent identity is the fact that all MobileStar employees also work for Rockstar.
The jurist agreed with Google's assertions that Apple's business interests are directly linked with Rockstar, meaning correct jurisdiction would be in California, where both companies are headquartered. Judge Wilken also shot down Rockstar's attempt to claim Texas as more convenient for parties involved, an argument based on the consortium's base of operations in Canada

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    Suck it Apple! Hopefully this gets thrown out and you'll have to go back to competing on merits alone.
  • Reply 2 of 61
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,460member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bryan Tianao View Post



    Suck it Apple! Hopefully this gets thrown out and you'll have to go back to competing on merits alone.

    Why bother with patents then? Why offer billion$ and then call the patents worthless?

    Suck it, Google!

  • Reply 3 of 61

    Rockstar is nothing more than a patent troll and I wish Apple and Microsoft would stop their association with them.

  • Reply 4 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

     

    Why bother with patents then? 


     

    Why? Because Apple, Microsoft et al are not in the patent troll business.. At least didn't think they were, all evidence to the contrary these days.

  • Reply 5 of 61
    tastowetastowe Posts: 108member
    What I say about google are troublemaker computer programmers.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    Rockstar would be a patent troll if the patents they bought had no value to the businesses themselves except as used in litigation. However, the Nortel patents have technical value to the likes of Apple, MS, and Google. New inventions extending these patent ideas can be made without concern for the need to license or the need to invent around the patents, to avoid infringement. Trolls don't care about these issues.
  • Reply 7 of 61
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tastowe View Post



    What I say about google are troublemaker computer programmers.

    W00t?

  • Reply 8 of 61
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    Oops
    I can't imagine this was sanctioned from Cupertino.
    This manoeuvre smacks of a bunch of legal beagles operating on the companies behalf but without enough control.from the parent company.

    Time for Tim to rein these cowboys in, I'd say.
  • Reply 9 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post



    Rockstar would be a patent troll if the patents they bought had no value to the businesses themselves except as used in litigation. 

    That's exactly how Rockstar uses these patents - for litigation purposes only.  It doesn't create or use these patents in any other way. It's a patent troll. 

     

    Actually, there is one differentiation from a pure patent troll;  Rockstar is also set with the objective of disrupting the Android business through the court system, which is not what a pure patent troll would do.. in fact, this makes Rockstar worse than a patent troll.

  • Reply 10 of 61
    darklitedarklite Posts: 229member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post



    Rockstar would be a patent troll if the patents they bought had no value to the businesses themselves except as used in litigation. However, the Nortel patents have technical value to the likes of Apple, MS, and Google. New inventions extending these patent ideas can be made without concern for the need to license or the need to invent around the patents, to avoid infringement. Trolls don't care about these issues.

    While that may be true, the strategy of creating a front company in Texas in an attempt to keep litigation there is definitely a patent troll tactic.

     

    edit: Also, am I the only one feeling uneasy about the whole thing where you can buy a patent and it essentially becomes a license to sue?

  • Reply 11 of 61
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bryan Tianao View Post



    Suck it Apple! Hopefully this gets thrown out and you'll have to go back to competing on merits alone.

     

    You are so boring and predictable, haven't you got something better to do or are you stuck in a boring and predictable job?

  • Reply 12 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,583member

    Actually, there is one differentiation from a pure patent troll;  Rockstar is also set with the objective of disrupting the Android business through the court system, which is not what a pure patent troll would do.. in fact, this makes Rockstar worse than a patent troll.

    The court recognized that, mentioning it in the Judge's order denying the move to Texas.

    "Defendants' litigation strategy of suing Google's customers in the Halloween actions is consistent with Apple’s particular business interests. In suing the Halloween action defendants, Defendants here limited their infringement claims to Android-operating devices only, even where they asserted a hardware-based patent... This 'scare the customer and run' tactic advances Apple's interest in interfering with Google's Android business..."


    From what she's seen so far the Chief Judge of the Northern District doesn't believe Rockstar's independence assertions.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bryan Tianao View Post

     

    That's exactly how Rockstar uses these patents - for litigation purposes only.  It doesn't create or use these patents in any other way. It's a patent troll. 

     


    Do you know anything about Nortel's portfolio? They have a vast valuable contribution to technology and they are licensed and used in many products, including ones used by the group that purchased them and others. Are you suggesting that when they closed they shouldn't be able to sell/transfer these patents like any other closing business would with physical products/machinery? 

     

    I do agree with the judge not transferring the case to Texas, her reasoning seems sound.

    Now the court will decide whether the patents have merit, like it should.

     

    The real issue is the patent office and what is, what can, and what should be patentable.

    Some patent description are so incredibly vague or general you could apply them to hundreds of different things.

    ex: " a method and procedure for doing A to B"

  • Reply 14 of 61
    darklitedarklite Posts: 229member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Headrush69 View Post

     

    Are you suggesting that when they closed they shouldn't be able to sell/transfer these patents like any other closing business would with physical products/machinery?


    I don't know. On the one hand I see what you mean, but on the other hand I'm deeply uneasy with being able to buy a 'license to sue', whether it's in the form of patents or copyrights.

     

    If I was to buy a patent from Samsung and then immediately used it to sue Apple, how is that any different from a troll? If the entire reason behind my purchase is just so that I can sue someone with it, how does that make me different from a company who files for broad patents for the same reason?

  • Reply 15 of 61
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  • Reply 16 of 61
    Bryan Tianao - it would seem that you work for Samsung from the stream of pro Samsung comments you post in an Apple Forum? Isn't that called trolling?
    As for Android being targeted... I would turn that around and say that Google bought Motorola for exactly the same purposes...in fact they sold the company and kept the most important Patents
  • Reply 17 of 61
    darklitedarklite Posts: 229member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marc Rogoff View Post



    Bryan Tianao - it would seem that you work for Samsung from the stream of pro Samsung comments you post in an Apple Forum? Isn't that called trolling?

    As for Android being targeted... I would turn that around and say that Google bought Motorola for exactly the same purposes...in fact they sold the company and kept the most important Patents

    If all these 'shill' accusations were true, the entirety of the American tech industry would have been bankrupted by the costs of paying so many people.

  • Reply 18 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post

     

    If all these 'shill' accusations were true, the entirety of the American tech industry would have been bankrupted by the costs of paying so many people.


    It is in fact a relatively cheap way of getting attention...doesnt take many people to target all the major apple sites...with Samsung's marketing budget it is a drop in the ocean. Why else would you only post negative comments on a site dedicated to Apple? 

  • Reply 19 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,583member
    Bryan Tianao - it would seem that you work for Samsung from the stream of pro Samsung comments you post in an Apple Forum? Isn't that called trolling?
    As for Android being targeted... I would turn that around and say that Google bought Motorola for exactly the same purposes...in fact they sold the company and kept the most important Patents
    ...and yet don't bring a single lawsuit using any of them against a tech neighbor. Odd for a company that supposedly bought them to go after their competitors don't you think?
  • Reply 20 of 61
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    ...and yet don't bring a single lawsuit using any of them against a tech neighbor. Odd for a company that supposedly bought them to go after their competitors don't you think?

    Perhaps you aren't looking hard enough.... http://www.zdnet.com/motorola-mobility-sues-apple-again-seeks-iphone-mac-import-ban-7000002853/

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