The Patent Troll Wars have turned over a new leaf recently. We have been seeing much activity on the Patent war front in the last few weeks, be it HTC winning a stay on an injunction against the HTC One Mini, followed by Nokia winning an injunction against HTC in Germany, and the Apple vs. Nokia patent infringement lawsuit elsewhere. In this continuing saga, we now have news that Google is taking the Apple-led Rockstar to court in an attempt to stop litigations which threaten the Android ecosystem.
The Rockstar alliance comprises of Google Android’s biggest rivals, led by Apple, BlackBerry and Microsoft. In 2012, the Rockstar alliance had purchased a number of patents from the now-defunct Nortel Networks for a whopping $4.5 billion, of which $2.5 billion had come in from the coffers of Apple. This action by Google can be termed as a preventive litigation, wherein it aims to protect manufacturers and OEMs depending on the Android ecosystem from patent infringement lawsuits being brought forward by Rockstar. Android manufacturers – HTC, LG, Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, Pantech etc. – were looking up to Google to take some action, as these OEMs are being trolled with litigations by Rockstar and its subsidiaries.
It must be noted that Rockstar does not have any operations of its own; it basically employs some Canadian engineers who monitor the operations of other companies in the hopes of finding proof that their IP portfolio is being infringed upon. Since Rockstar cannot make money in any other manner, they earn by suing other companies. In their filing, Google claims that Rockstar has been focusing on more than a hundred tech companies in the hopes of striking it rich. Rockstar’s CEO also claims that every major tech company has been infringing on the patents they have purchased from Nortel.
The crux of the situation is clear enough. Rockstar has failed at trying to license their patents and has no other route left to be able to monetize their patent portfolio; they are getting desperate. Google may not want to spend time and precious resources in the defense of its customers, but so far Google is not left with much choice either, since Rockstar’s patents deal with basic smartphone functions like “mobile hotspot functionality” and “Messaging and Notifications”.
Only time will tell whether Google’s move proves beneficial for the tech giant or not. We have our reservations as earlier this year, a court had ruled against Cisco who was suing to prevent their router customers from litigation.
We personally feel the courts should take a strong stand against patent trolling as in the long run, it consumes resources which could be used for innovation and product enhancement. Our comment section is open, let us know what you feel on this patent trollism.