Feeds

Cisco asks court to bin Rockstar patents

Rides out to defend customers

The essential guide to IT transformation

Cisco has thrown on the armour and couched the lance to defend itself and its customers from the zombie Nortel patent lawsuits.

The Nortel patent portfolio, bought by the Rockstar Consortium and since partly spun out to subsidiaries Bockstar and Constellation (yes, these are the real names), has been the basis for an ongoing campaign to extract money both from vendors and from the cable companies that use their kit.

Technologies targeted in the Rockstar-Bockstar-Constellation action include a couple of dozen patents covering high-speed broadband, switched video technology, MPLS networking, Ethernet passive optical networks, and multimedia provision over IP.

As Cisco's counter-claim states, “the Known Accused Customers use Cisco products, to implement technologies, products, or services including Ethernet (including Ethernet over optical transport), whole house DVR, MoCA, the DOCSIS Standards, high speed internet (including DSL), voice over IP, digital video, managed VPN, and Layer 3 VPN.”

Customers that have copped lawyers' letters over the patents include Time Warner Cable, Windstream, Knology, WOW!, Cable One and others. Cisco says the plaintiffs refused to enter into negotiations with any of the customers they accused unless the customer signed an NDA, something which its counter-claim says “concealed the scope” of the assertions and “cast a cloud of uncertainty over Cisco's business”.

Cisco is seeking declaratory judgements on the claims against it. It's also filed this counter-suit in Delaware rather than in the patent wonderland of Texas.

The problem for the industry is that Nortel, which like most large vendors licensed its patents into standards under normal FRAND terms, no longer exists, and Rockstar and its spawn have the patents, but aren't bound by the licensing agreements. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.