Feeds

Google BLASTS BACK at Apple, Microsoft, Sony in Android patent WAR

Demands jury trial to prove Rockstar's claims groundless

The essential guide to IT transformation

Google has struck back at a patent-wielding consortium composed of industry heavy-hitters with a lawsuit seeking a judgment that neither Google nor any of its Android partners infringes on the group's patents.

The move is the latest chapter in a saga that dates back to 2011, when Apple, BlackBerry, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony teamed up to buy the patent portfolio of failed telecoms vendor Nortel for $4.5bn, beating out Google's own $900m bid.

That group later emerged as Rockstar, and earlier this year it began firing off lawsuits at Google and makers of Android devices – including Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE – alleging that the Chocolate Factory's smartphone OS infringes on its patent pool.

Google denies the charges, and in documents filed with the US District Court of Northern California on Monday, it has asked for a trial that it hopes will end with a declaration that Android is in the clear.

In its filing, the online ad giant describes Rockstar as a patent troll that seeks to "harm Google's Android platform and disrupt Google's relationships with the Android OEM Defendants."

"Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents," Google's lawyers write in the filing. "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."

For its part, Rockstar says its portfolio comprises more than 4,000 patents, so it only naturally covers diverse applications.

"Because Rockstar's portfolio is based on a wide range of telecommunications, wired and networking based research and development performed by Nortel engineers," a statement on the group's website explains, "a significant portion of today's high technology products and services relate to these patents."

Google's filing claims that Rockstar has already sought licenses from as many as 100 companies. How successful those efforts have been isn't clear, however, since the world of patent licensing is often murky and the terms of individual licenses are seldom disclosed.

But there is some evidence that Rockstar's efforts haven't been going as well as its constituent companies may have hoped. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Rockstar has been in talks to sell off a portion of its patent portfolio, indicating that what was once thought to be a goldmine might not be delivering enough return on its hefty purchase price.

Be that as it may, Google categorically denies that Android infringes on any of seven different patents asserted by Rockstar, and it wants its day in court to prove it.

Google has specifically requested a jury trial, and in the event the jury finds in its favor, it has asked that Rockstar be made to pay for all of its court costs and attorneys' fees, as well as "such further and additional relief as the Court deems just and proper."

Rockstar did not immediately respond to The Reg's request for comment. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.