Remember a few years ago when Nortel’s enormous patent portfolio went up for auction and we had tons of tech companies bidding for it? Well, looks like we’re about to see the effects of it. The group of companies that won the patents – Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Sony, and Ericsson – banded together under a new company named titled “Rockstar” and have filed an extremely extensive patent suit against Google and several Android handset makers, including HTC, LG, and Samsung.
Originally, Google wanted to purchase those patents to prevent this from happening, but stopped bidding for them at $4.4 billion. Rockstar nabbed the patents for $4.5 billion, which is an astronomical sum of money for a patent portfolio. Some of the patents that are being used in the lawsuit include patents for things like an “associative search engine” and “an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network.” Vague? Yep.
Realistically, the ultimate goal for the Rockstar Consortium would be to strong-arm other companies into paying licensing fees for infringing devices. Microsoft already makes several bucks per Android phones sold because of patents and licensing agreements. It’ll be interesting to see how this suit plays out, but make no mistake, it’s probably going to get pretty messy.
source: Ars Technica