Feeds

Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial

Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Google has won a victory in its battle against patent troll Rockstar, with a US District Court judge having denied Rockstar's request to try the case in the troll-friendly Eastern District of Texas, rather than in California.

Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View, California, filed suit against Rockstar in December and is seeking a declaration from the court that none of its products infringe on Rockstar's zombie Nortel patents.

Rockstar had asked the court to transfer the case to Texas on grounds that its subsidiary MobileStar, which owns some of the contested patents, has its principal place of business in that state, making it more convenient to call witnesses there. But in a ruling [PDF] issued on Thursday, District Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California questioned that claim.

"Indeed, Defendants have not identified any witnesses residing in Texas, their primary operations and headquarters are in Canada, and they admit that many of the inventors of the patents-in-suit were listed at least years ago as being from Canada," Judge Wilken wrote.

Wilken also rubbished the idea that MobileStar was a legitimate subsidiary company, observing that Rockstar created it and transferred thousands of patents to it just one day before it launched a barrage of lawsuits against tech companies – all of which, naturally, were filed in East Texas.

All MobileStar employees also work for Rockstar, she noted, and the company has just three officers, all of whom serve on Rockstar's board.

"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)," Wilken wrote.

As such, she said, "the traditional notions of fair play and justice would not be offended" if the court considered Rockstar and MobileStar to be a single entity.

Moreover, because Apple is the majority shareholder in Rockstar and Rockstar's lawsuits have a "direct link" with Apple's unique business interests, Wilken wrote that it would not be unreasonable to try the issues in California, where Apple is also headquartered.

In all, it was a damning ruling for Rockstar, but certainly not the final one. Although Judge Wilken denied Rockstar's request to transfer the case to Texas, the full, ugly, interminable patent slugfest between Rockstar and Google is still to come. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.