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'Rockstar five' unleash Nortel sueball strike on foes

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The group that beat Google in the bidding for Nortel's patents is now using those patents to sue the advertising giant along with a whole bunch of other tech firms.

Rockstar – a consortium of Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony – secured the intellectual property for the princely sum of $4.5bn back in 2011, and is now using that portfolio to sue Google, Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, Pantech and ZTE.

The group launched a battery of suits in Texas yesterday, accusing the firms of infringing on a range of the patents it picked up from Nortel.

According to court filings, Rockstar is asserting seven patents against Google, which cover technology that matches search terms to relevant advertising, the company's core business. The group is using the fact that Google bid on the Nortel patents as part of its case, alleging wilful infringement on the patents for which it will try to get increased damages.

Rockstar said in its filing that Google initially offered $900m for the portfolio and then raised its offer several times, ending up on $4.4bn.

"Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe the patents-in-suit despite its knowledge of the patents-in-suit and the objectively high likelihood that its actions constitute patent infringement," the filing said.

"Google’s infringement of any or all of the above-named patents is willful and deliberate, entitling plaintiffs to increased damages and to attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in prosecuting this action."

The consortium has also asserted patents against Samsung, LG and others that cover aspects of the technology used in Android devices. ®

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