11-01-2013, 09:48 PM
Just when we thought things were getting too quiet
on the patent front, we have a new development
that is threatening to obliterate anything we've seen
this far in terms of its scale. Apple and Microsoft-
owned company Rockstar has filed a series of
lawsuits against Google and its Android partners,
including Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics,
Pantech, Samsung and ZTE. According to Rockstar,
these all infringe on a total of 14 different patents it
Rockstar Bidco, a consortium that includes
companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, BlackBerry
and Ericsson was formed back in 2011 with the aim
of acquiring the vast patent portfolio of Nortel, a
company which in its hay days employed nearly
100,000 people. The consortium had one big rival
for the patent cache, Google, and it is now
becoming obvious why the search giant wanted
Nortel bad enough to offer up to $4.4 billion before
dropping out of the race.
Seven of these patents strike at the very core of
what made Google, and by far its biggest revenue
stream: its search engine and advertising. The
earliest of those dates to 1997, a year before
Google was even founded, and AdWords in
particular is going to be under fire.
In terms of the Android OEMs, the alleged patent
infringements range from hardware, through
graphical interface and the navigating of it, down to
some network protocols.
This is purely speculative, but a number of people
consider Google's subsequent Motorola acquisition
to be related to the loss of Nortel's treasure troves
of patents (about 6,000 of those!). The idea being
that apart from getting its very own hardware
company, it's also getting ownership of Motorola's
vast portfolio of intellectual property. Google was
probably hoping that such a situation would lead to a
stalemate, as both sides would have more than
enough valid lawsuits against each other. Doesn't
seem like it, and the tricky part is that Google can't
actually counter-sue the way Samsung did with
Apple, since Rockstar doesn't really have any
operations other than, apparently, patent trolling.
Rockstar is technically an independent organization
from Apple, Microsoft and the rest, though it's not
too hard to imagine that Google might decide to go
for a counter-attack.
The scale of this new development is impossible to
gauge just yet (and probably not for a while, as
these things always go down slowly), but there's
the possibility of it dwarfing Apple's $1 billion worth
of victory against Samsung in recent months.
Unfortunately for Google, it'll have a pretty hard
time defending itself in court, seeing as how close it
was to actually assimilating Nortel's intellectual
assets, and for a price, too. Rockstars lawyers
aren't blind to this fact, and are reportedly
specifically mentioning this in their complaint.
More info as we get it, folks.
Source : phonearena