About a year and a half ago, we wrote about “Rockstar Consortium,” a shell company set up by Apple and Microsoft (and a few other companies), in which they placed many of the patents they received when they outbid Google to get Nortel’s patents. We noted at the time that one of the reasons regulators let Apple, Microsoft, RIM and others team up to buy these patents without it being an antitrust concern was that they promised that all the patents would be able to be licensed on “reasonable terms.” Except… once they handed them off to Rockstar, that company’s CEO, John Veschi, noted that this promise “does not apply to us.”
So, in a move that surprises basically no one, Rockstar Consortium has sued Google along with most of the major Android phone makers (Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE) claiming they violate a bunch of those old Nortel patents. This is yet another example of the obnoxious practice of privateering patents, where operating companies shuffle patents off to troll shell companies, to avoid having countersuits launched against their own products. It’s pretty obvious that the lawsuits, two of which are listed below, are nothing more than Microsoft and Apple trying to put a dent in Android.
This has nothing to do with patents as innovation, and everything to do with patents trying to stifle competition. Again.