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PW3: Patent War 3 is Upon Us, “Rockstar” Consortium Sues Google and Android

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We all thought it was over, thought we were past it, but we were oh so wrong. The patent wars have returned in full force and this time the patent trolls are more well equipped than they ever have been before. After Nortel went bankrupt in 2009, their patent portfolio of over 6,000 patents went up for sale to the highest bidder in 2011. That bidder was the “Rockstar Consortium” which is made up by Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson and Sony. This group of companies has officially filed suit against Google and a host of companies that manufacture Android devices. This is a patent war. 

Google understood the threat of this portfolio of patents getting into the hands of groups like Rockstar. Google did bid on the patents, offering up $4.4 billion dollars for it, but the Rockstar group offered $4.5 and eventually ended up winning. Not too long after losing out on Nortel patents, Motorola was purchased by Google, which many believed was a way to secure themselves a large swath of patents.

Google is not the only one under attack however. Samsung, HTC, ASUS, LG, Pantech, Huawei and ZTE are all focused in this new attack on Android. The patents in question for most of these companies are archaic ones, coming from the late 90′s and early 2000′s with vague terms like “navigation tool for graphical user interface” and “integrated message center” being used to describe whole patents. With language like this, Rockstar could take the whole tech world for a ride which Rockstar’s CEO, John Veschi admitted as much, “Pretty much anyone out there is infringing.” The best part about this whole story, is that Rockstar believes that the companies that comprise it, are not infringing on the patents that they are suing everyone else over. Veschi said “We are separate. That does not apply to us.”

So fasten your seatbelts, because this patent showdown will most likely be the biggest one we have seen yet. This could be the “thermonuclear war” that the late Steve Jobs promised to carry out against Android. We will have to see how Google and Android responds.

Via: ArsTechnica

  • NorCalGuy

    Why doesn’t Samsung say f u to apple they make the stupid A7 chip that runs the phone, pretty sure that would hurt Apple. And moto should just get in there and shut down all cross platform messaging. Those two moves could make android the only phone left.

  • Chris

    When the HELL will the Notification Bar patent from 2010 be granted to Google? Then they can sue Apple and make them remove their stupid ass, copied Notification Center.

  • MekoSuka

    This should be illegal. Massive companies glom together to create the biggest most powerful patent troll in the world for one reason. TO GET PAID OR PUT YOU OUT OF BUSINESS.

    (emphatic period)

  • Jonathan Williams

    Cue Yung Joc’s It’s Goin’ Down…

  • S.Ober

    Better call Saul!

    • http://people.ign.com/mrfrodo24 MrFrodo24

      When you’re facing a thermonuclear patent war, you don’t want a “criminal” lawyer. You want a criminal lawyer.

  • Matthew Rebmann

    This is absurd. “navigation tool for graphical user interface”?! That covers literally EVERYTHING that has navigation. If this stands up in court… wow.

  • Nagini

    Why the hell is Sony in on this?? Google should put a block on Sony and Ericsson making android devices.

    • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

      My guess is that Sony is considering the future of the PlayStation franchise here. Xperia is a different department. {{-_-}}

      • Kenton Douglas

        Agreed … and they’ve just put a big target on the Playstation department.

    • William_Morris

      Considering Android is open-source, Google can’t restrict them from using the OS.

      • Obi Alfred

        Google can remove Sony from using Google Play services on their devices. Things like google play apps, music, videos, google cloud services and things would be removed from Sony phones.

        I can’t believe nobody has thought of this!

  • MikeSaver

    just dont post any updates on this, it makes me too angry.

  • kevlowe

    Well, here we go!

  • CoreRooted

    I am SO over this patent war crap. This takes the definition of the word lame to a whole new level. Zero attention has been paid to our flawed patent system and this is the outcome of that. Patents from the early 1990s written in misleading terms should have expired two decades ago (or not been awarded in the first place).

  • Name

    meanwhile Apple is working on IOS8 which integrates Android features we all have been using for years!

  • Guest

    I imagine Googles response to learning of this lawsuit went something like this..

  • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

    Seems like some kind of collusion line should have been crossed here. Everybody now! Form a shell company with a bunch of other companies so that you can sue competition without being sued yourself – since you produce no products that can infringe patents!

  • fauxshizzl

    “We are separate. That does not apply to us.” Following the governments footsteps I see. Worked well for them! I wish I could make rules for everyone else I didn’t have to follow but could enforce.

  • Ballisticn8

    Time for Google to break out the Motorola patent folder and go thermonuclear on everyone. I dont care what the other companies might have with this new portfolio Google owns Motorola and Moto has patents that can shut down iMessaging, Xbox Live Messaging, etc. Basically anything that does cross platform messaging Google can own them. Thats just one patent. If they really go this route Google needs to respond in kind and shut them down.

    • Matthew Rebmann

      Not that I think you’re wrong, but do you know these patents specifically? These are some bold claims

    • Stone Cold

      Motorola been making phones for 20 plus yearswould be interesting to peek into thier patent profolio

  • Rob Fetterhoff

    This is why the world is ending… patent wars are the stupidest thing ever…

  • lgreg64

    google needs saul

    • S.Ober

      Glad I wasn’t the only one thinking this!

  • nickyb

    There is no way apple is involved in this…they have much higher standards.

    • Ytram

      ..

    • Rob Fetterhoff

      Somehow I can just tell you are kidding. haha

  • chris_johns

    stop crying…this will go on forever you guys acting like youll boycot a company because they suing google waaaaa im not buying microsoft products or sony products or anything that hurts my precious google…google has more money they anyone dont feel bad for them theyll be fine…i cant wait to get my xbox one and cant wait to play it on my sony bravia…i love my windows run rig i built…I could care less about these companies being jealous and trying to dethrone the king…these topics are far to broad and they will not win any of these law suits…its just large corps trying to make money off other large corps through nonsensical legal issues…this is nothing new

    • Adrynalyne

      “google has more money they anyone dont feel bad for them ”

      Except the part where they don’t.

  • Me

    If you can’t beat em, sue em.

    • chris_johns

      he gets it

  • moelsen8

    this is never going to end. what a waste of time and money.

    • morpheus282

      Hey, it’s not a total waste of money. Attorneys have to eat too…

  • http://twitter.com/tarund TarunD

    Bunch of greedy little bastards. I really don’t like rich snobs. Freagin’ a-holes!

  • Raven

    They are just jealous.

  • George Messiha

    Google should just buy RIM the they would be a Rockstar..

    • Frettfreak

      MAN.. that would be awesome.

  • Ej McCarty

    I read this and thought wow go f yourself apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, Sony, and rim. Not getting a new Xbox. I hope everyone at Apple gets iherpes and dies and rim basically already killed themselves. Sony isn’t making phones in the US because they can’t compete and who are you Ericsson? Never buying any product but Google again.

    • Frettfreak

      makes me feel the same. BUt problem is sony and MS are here. No PS4 or Xbox ONE?? Not sure i can go that far, but definitely thinking about switching completely over to ubuntu. Have been going back and forth for a few years anyway and this may just be the kick i need to make the switch fully.

      • Justin Hickl

        Linux for the win!!! And I don’t need an XBOne or a PS4… STEAM!!!!

        • Ej McCarty

          I just started playing CA about a week ago talk about nostalgia haha.

      • Ej McCarty

        I’ve never used it. Is it any good honestly I’ve never really even looked at it

        • Ej McCarty

          And I’m at least waiting until next year to get an Xbox one. I wish Google would come out with a rival product for them

        • Leonardo Farage Freitas

          For me, the only downside of linux (in general) is the lack of games support. But steam is bringing a lot of games with linux support (i mean, really who is doing this is devs, but steam helps on distributing). So, perhaps in a few years big game dev companies will be supporting linux a lot more :D

    • Matthew Hoke

      ” I hope everyone at Apple gets iherpes and dies” – I lol’d

  • Frettfreak

    I dont give a damn. If they take out android like this. I will use a dumb phone. F- those d-bags. I will never use their crap.. NEVER!!

    • antinorm

      If they manage to take out Android (as unlikely as that is), wouldn’t that backfire on them? Apple et al would have their reputation destroyed if they became known as the people who brought about an end to Android because of some vague patent.

      • Frettfreak

        no because most people lack passion and conviction for anything. Just like most people commenting about how pissed they are here. Yet IF (thats a really big IF) but IF they managed to take out android, most people would go buy an iphone. thats just the facts unfortunately. I woudnt, but most people would.

        • http://www.rebelwithoutaclue.com/ Rebel without a Clue

          Which gave them a monopoly in the smartphone world, restricting their asses just as much as they do with Microsoft and Windows. Apple: we don’t allow other keyboard apps. EU: Well, you’re a monopoly now, you have to.
          And didn’t Apple and Microsoft hate each other back in the days? Look at them now, sleeping together.

  • blix247

    Google bid on these patents, and knew this was coming. I guess for them the price passed a point where they figured the cost of losing a lawsuit was cheaper than the cost of buying the patents and trying to sue others.

    • Cowboydroid

      Now we have to see if they guessed that price correctly.

    • Leonardo Farage Freitas

      I would never have given up! Give money to Apple, Microsoft?! NEVER!!!

      but oh well, I don’t own Google. Hope they know what they are doing :P

  • CHRIS42060

    I am pretty sure anytime Apple and Microsoft team up the only possible outcome is the apocalypse.

    • Frettfreak

      Makes me glad i havent actually paid for a MS product in YEARS!! HA… LICK IT MS! (and i just dont buy apple anything ever so that has never been an issue)

      • CHRIS42060

        I really need to learn how to use Linux better so I can drop MS as well. I also agree about not used Apple products. I owned an iPod once, and it was such a problematic piece of crap I got over that quick.

        • BroRob

          Just installed Linux Mint for this reason!

    • http://www.rebelwithoutaclue.com/ Rebel without a Clue

      Shame if you want to buy a console, there’s only Microsoft and Sony.

      • E A butler

        WiiU!!!!!

        • Rice30

          Nintendo Graphics suks hard.

          • CHRIS42060

            Graphics or morals…… You cannot have both from a gaming console.

      • Israel Ramirez

        STEAM BOX STEAM BOX STEAM BOX

  • NastyEmu

    I hope Yellow Book doesn’t get in on this too, suing everyone for “displaying relevant ads with search results”.

    • Butters619

      My yellowbook has been sitting in the plastic bag outside my door for 8 months now. Although, at least I know where it is if I ever need it.

      • red014

        Your neighbors must love you. :)

        • Frettfreak

          if his neighbors care wether he leaves a phonebook on his doorstep, his neighbors most likely use an iphone (pretentious). just sayin.

          • Jason Smith

            So if you are a clean person you are an isheep? I balk at that. My neighbors have boxes outside their door (apartment) and it’s annoying. One of these days I’m going go throw them away in the middle of the night or something.

          • Frettfreak

            Phone book is a little different that some boxes for one. and it was meant as a joke. dont take yourself so seriously. Here is a thought, maybe TALK to your neighbors about the problem instead of throwing them away? I know i know… sounds like crazy talk.

          • Jason Smith

            Whattt? TALK to them? Hahahahah. :)

          • michael arazan

            And leave the safety of a dark room and the internet?

        • CoreRooted

          It’s probably to beat the neighbors with when they come over unannounced. ;-) Ok… maybe that’s what I would do.

      • michael arazan

        Time to Take our Yellow Books and Beat down these people

  • Randy Lee Martin

    DAMN!! Snitches get stitches and end up in ditches…lol (waving my 9mm in the air)

  • John Motschenbacher

    i don’t get why Sony is in on this ..they make android devices

    • C O

      They are now also part owner in the patents.

    • Manthas

      I had the same question; doesn’t really seem to make a lot of sense, unless it is out of pure and simple greed.

    • Cowboydroid

      Sony makes Android devices the same way Oracle makes open-source programs.

    • S2556

      Probably just so they aren’t on the other end of things getting sued.

  • Elliot Kotis

    LOL SONY! They are literally biting the hand that feeds them, they should expect lack of Google support for Xperia. And Apple what happened to being mutual you dicks.

  • Havoc70

    Thank you RockStar, for ensuring i will never buy any product BUT Android!

    Rockstar Consortium Address, Do with that what you will
    US
    Legacy Town Center 1
    7160 North Dallas Parkway
    Suite No. 250
    Plano, TX 75024
    info@ip-rockstar.com

    • Elliot Kotis

      Excluding Xperia, Sony is part of Rockstar.

      • CHRIS42060

        Depending how this lawsuit goes Sony might be shooting themselves in the foot for sure.

    • Not 2

      Yes, I am sure “info” at rockstar will be begging for mercy. LOL! Moron.

      • Havoc70

        Hey Not 2, did you engage your brain today? Don’t like it don’t use it Jackass. Now time to get our of Mommy Basement for the day

    • ROB

      Thats 15 minutes from where I live ..time to protest

  • Cowboydroid

    This is a direct violation of the terms of the patent sale. The consortium that bought it agreed not to do this very thing.

    • antinorm

      …with their fingers crossed behind their back, trying to stifle a giggle.

    • blix247

      Not technically, they agreed to license standards essential patents. Pretty sure those patents aren’t being used in the suit.

      The ironic thing is that only standards essential patents represent real effort towards innovation. They are significantly devalued at this point. If you attempt to sue over them the governments of the world will crush you. Apple knowingly and willingly infringed on tons of patents from Nokia and Motorola, then waited more than five years to license them.

      If you sue over bounce back patents though, well thats innovation and products should be kept from the market if they infringe on it!

  • gardobus

    Does Sony not realize that they use Android?

    • Cowboydroid

      Most people don’t realize Sony uses Android. Or makes smartphones at all.

  • mustbepbs

    ”Pretty much anyone out there is infringing.”

    War is coming.

    • SparkysShocker

      Winter is coming

  • EC8CH

    “Pretty much anyone out there is infringing.”

    SUE ALL THE THINGS!

    • Droidzilla

      This line shows exactly what’s wrong with the whole patent system. If something is so intuitive, iterative, and/or obvious that anyone and everyone figured it out independently, it shouldn’t be patent worthy.

      • irwincur

        Honestly you can’t say that everyone else would magically think of something unless someone came up with it first.

        • Droidzilla

          No, but I can say that most of the patents we’ve seen the mobile a-holes squabble over have been iterative and/or obvious in nature. Slide to unlock? Universal search? Come on; that crap isn’t patent worthy.

          • Fattie McDoogles

            No that’s not true. They should be patentable. It was their idea and they thought of it first. They had the foresight to think of it before everyone else they deserve to have a patent on it for the length of time it’s patentable. After that it should become public domain. But they deserve the right to get credit for their idea.

          • Ryan

            I do agree that many things should have patents for them, but companies lobby the government in their favor to increase the length of time of patents and copyrights have before they go in public domain. That is where the real problem lies in. Copyright currently goes on for the authors life-span + another 100 years (if I recall) before it even goes up to public domain. Which is utterly ridiculous… It should go back to the old method of lasting not more than about 10 years. Similar for patents and such, since Apple and their ilk love to sue over the most frivolous of designs that’s already been in Android for 1.5 years or more.

          • Cowboydroid

            The real problem lies in the fundamental concept of “intellectual property rights.” The entire concept is based on incoherent definitions of property and rights.

          • patentpirate

            as stated in the article above these patents are from late 90s early 2000s… and the tech world has moved miles past where we were then. how long should such a miniscule patent be able to own everything? Whoever patented the first circular wheel would rule the world.

          • Droidzilla

            No. Patents for things like slide to unlock are stupid. Copyright for the code used is totally valid, but a patent for the concept itself is beyond stupid. Apple even had a patent for using NFC for travel. That’s just absurd. What’s next, a patent for using a mobile device while in a vehicle? Stupid. This crap stifles innovation and only makes sure that the big kid gets all the toys.

  • Christian Felanopolis

    If ya can’t beat em….. Sue em!!! Interesting a couple of the companies listed make Android phones. If I was Google, I’d tell em to take their phones and shove them (because you know Apple isn’t going to let them have access to the world of “I.”

  • John Motschenbacher

    pay the fines and keep innovation going for every 2 billion in fines…. 5 billion in profit above that is made.

    • Elliot Kotis

      more like 300 billion, Google is raking in more money than basically all those companies combined (even apple)

      • Frettfreak

        no, no they are not. Google is the closest, but apple is still the richest company in the world.

  • schoat333

    This won;t go anywhere. All Google has to do is show other companies not named in this suits equal infringement. This will prove they are being singled out, and the case should be dropped.

    • JZ

      Patent owners don’t have to go after everyone at once over an issue. It makes sense to go after Google since they have the most money. There’s nothing in the law that precludes the suit because Google is being singled out.

  • Andrew

    Google: “Bring it…”

  • steve james

    Man why don’t they just go the China route and say Patents? We don’t need no stinking patents!

  • Renjamin

    Further cementing my conviction to spend my money on Google products.

  • Daniel Flores

    Litigation over Innovation…buy patents to sue since you’re clearly losing the mobile OS battle.

    • EC8CH

      Who needs good products when you can have good lawyers instead.

    • whoa

      Could Google buy blackberry and get in the consortium? Not saying they should just wondering

      • Droidzilla

        That would be hilarious.

      • Frettfreak

        they absolutely should. this would be THE MOVE to make right now honestly. go buy blackberry for some absurd amount of money (because they can), just to give these guys the finger!

      • Anthony_Armando

        That would be absolutely hilarious. The “Rockstar Consortium” call a meeting and in walks Eric Schmidt or Larry Page, he just sits down at the “RIM” seat, looks around, and goes, “Hi guys! So, who are we suing today?”

      • EC8CH

        …….

      • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

        better still, Google along with its partners being sued should create their own consortium and buy blackberry just so they are all safe if that would get them covered under the Nortel patents.

  • DealMasterXXL

    Nexus 5 Woooooo Hooooooooo!!!!!!

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    They clearly see the Android takeover.

  • Ryan B

    • WK

      wtf i was JUST thinking of MIA – Paper Planes when i was reading this article for some reason.

      • Petey Pablo

        You were thinking of that fugly, no talent ho when you thing about Android?

        • WK

          wow. harsh much? i was thinking of the song. jesus.

          • Fattie McDoogles

            Someone’s a little sensitive when it comes to MIA that’s all. She must have given him an STD or something

      • http://Twitter.com/ContestsAccount bigrob60

        How the hell did that happen?

    • Rich Flores

      Hahahahaaaaaa!

    • mcnulty732

      Experience is a poor teacher: So, don’t bother and make some
      handsome earning, go to this site… http://www.Pro67.ℂℴm

  • Shane Redman

    Wow….If everyone infringes on it, then what’s the point?

    • zachos

      The same reason most laws are on the books that fit that bill – power and control.

  • droidify

    Geez. Maybe the government will step in and revise the horrible patent system.

    • antinorm

      That would be nice, but it’s unlikely. This is the same government that first created copyrights “for a limited time”, but it’s now something absurd (how life+75 encourages creativity is beyond me).

      Corporations own the government, and they aren’t about to allow IP law to become reasonable once again.

      • Menger40

        Nothing wrong with life+75 for copyright. Copyright protects written works, works of art, etc. Patents, trade secrets, copyrights and trademarks all work differently and protect different things.

        • antinorm

          The original intent of copyright law was to encourage creativity. In other words, part of the bargain of ensuring you get paid for your creativity was that you had to keep creating. Life+75 violates that bargain. (And yes, I know they protect different things. Patent law is just as messed up as copyright law, when you see garbage like this happening.)

          • Menger40

            Copyright encourages creativity by ensuring that creators are paid for their works. Is it the +75 that you object to? Because the person is dead and can’t create any more stuff?

      • http://www.rebelwithoutaclue.com/ Rebel without a Clue

        Perhaps China might step in, since they did loan USA quite an amount of money. Hey Obama, we want our money back….now!

        (http://useconomy.about.com/od/worldeconomy/p/What-Is-the-US-Debt-to-China.htm)

    • Cowboydroid

      It created it. You really think it’s going to fix it?

      • droidify

        No, and I agree that the government F’s up everything it touches. But something needs to be done. I have little faith that the people that run the IRS and post office can fix it, but they couldn’t possibly make it worse than it is now.

        • SparkysShocker

          Oh but they could

        • Cowboydroid

          Oh, they can always make it worse.

          Things like this won’t get “fixed” until the entire power structure gets fixed.

        • g2gsr

          Case in point: healthcare.gov

          • Feed Jake

            Considering Google is one of the companies offering to bail out the Obamanation that has been the health care overhaul, you’d think they’d show some preference on this patent mess. But the nice thing about politicians and attorneys is that you can always trust them to be untrustworthy.

          • irwincur

            Google helped get Obama elected twice by loaning out hundreds of engineers. Unfortunately for them, he doesn’t really care and has few real friends. Nor does he wield any real power in government any more, he is pretty much a joke that sits in a pretty white house in the middle of DC.

      • Ej McCarty

        Sometimes you have to destroy what you make.

        • Cowboydroid

          That’s how rational people think. Politicians are not rational people.

    • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

      Trust me. We can’t expect anything good from them. {{-_-}}

  • Greg Morgan

    Just as the Patent Wars start to die down. Good job Apple and Microsoft.

    • Frettfreak

      RIGHT!! I feel like we need to get the torches and pitchforks and burn them to the ground! Honestly contemplating making the switch to ubunu cause of this (not like i paid for windows anyway though)

      • Rob Fetterhoff

        People pay for that still?