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Google, Samsung, Others, Sued by Rockstar Consortium

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments

Apple and Microsoft -- two of the older tech giants -- have consistently faced tough competition from relative newcomer, Google; now it seems they've formed a temporary alliance to hit Google where it hurts -- search.

Several lawsuits were filed last week against Google, HTC, Samsung and many others led by the unlikely friendship of Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft and Sony -- collectively known as the Rockstar Consortium. The plaintiffs' claim against Google and its partners is over seven patents that use Internet terms to help direct advertising. This basically amounts to Google's entire core business model and, if successful, the suit would be a tough one for the king of search to slough off.

Patent wars are becoming an increasingly big deal as big companies buy up patents to both stomp out competition and help the company take exclusive control of future market niches. Typically, these lawsuits result in either a dismissal or a monetary reward for the injured party. With this suit, though, it's hard to imagine how Google would be able to continue to function if it had to whether such a blow.

This suit comes after a bidding war over patents held by Nortel, sold off in 2011. In the end, Google's bid topped $4.4 billion -- just narrowly losing to the Rockstar group at $4.5 billion. After losing out on Nortel, Google went on to pick up Motorola's chest of patents for $12.5 billion.

It's much too early to figure which way this case will go, but things don't look great for Google and friends.

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  • 38 Hide
    burnley14 , November 4, 2013 5:35 PM
    The greatest obstacle to progress these days is stupid crap like this. If companies could free up the insane amount of resources they spend protecting themselves from lawsuits and their "intellectual property" it would be amazing to see how quickly things progress. The entire patent system is so flawed and abused that everyone loses as a result.
Other Comments
  • 38 Hide
    burnley14 , November 4, 2013 5:35 PM
    The greatest obstacle to progress these days is stupid crap like this. If companies could free up the insane amount of resources they spend protecting themselves from lawsuits and their "intellectual property" it would be amazing to see how quickly things progress. The entire patent system is so flawed and abused that everyone loses as a result.
  • 9 Hide
    GeeLouie , November 4, 2013 5:46 PM
    Apple is the leader in this law suit! They cannot compete thus the need for frivolous lawsuits and US protection. No matter what Apple does, it will go down to single digits in market share where it belongs!
  • 2 Hide
    Vigilence , November 4, 2013 5:48 PM
    Let these NSA abiding roaches fight each other out of business.
  • 4 Hide
    guvnaguy , November 4, 2013 6:11 PM
    This is the epitome of capitalistic greed: rather than combine their collective patent knowledge and wealth to make something they could ALL profit from as well as benefiting society, they have to bring one another down.
  • -4 Hide
    hitman40 , November 4, 2013 6:25 PM
    Quote:
    Apple is the leader in this law suit! They cannot compete thus the need for frivolous lawsuits and US protection. No matter what Apple does, it will go down to single digits in market share where it belongs!


    If you can't backup your statement that Apple is the leader in this suit, then I advise you to take your clear iHate elsewhere instead of an article that clearly lists joint partnership between multiple companies.

    And no, selective reading gets you no where in life.
  • 0 Hide
    ioconnor , November 4, 2013 7:00 PM
    Why is blackberry which is on the verge of bankruptcy getting mixed up with this?
  • 4 Hide
    tjandrew , November 4, 2013 7:23 PM
    *weather

    Are there no editors on this site? "whether" means "expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives" whereas in this case the phrase you used comes from "weather" meaning "come safely through (a storm)"
  • 1 Hide
    Yuka , November 4, 2013 7:46 PM
    After the results for this quarter, I think Google should buy Sony+Ericsson.

    Problem solved. It would be way cheaper than the risk of losing the court battle and even maybe a possible settle (in the long term) for all of the companies.

    Cheers!
  • 4 Hide
    bochica , November 4, 2013 7:53 PM
    Funny to see that all of the companies in this "consortium" are all the companies who, as of a recent announcement, are losing market share to the Android devices (even though Microsoft just start and is slowly increasing with smartphones).
  • 4 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 4, 2013 8:16 PM
    Actually this is old news and the article is incomplete. Rockstar is a technically independent organization spun off by those that bought the Nortel patents. Technically as in everyone bought the patents and created a new patent troll for them. On the other hand these companies gave the patents to Rockstar on the condition that they get a cut of any lawsuits and don't sue them. Rockstar has 12-15 employees whose only job is to reverse engineer Google products and find potential patent violation.

    Second Rockstar isn't sueing just for search terms they're also going after mobile technology like LTE, which is why Samsung and HTC are also defendants.

    What's totally insane is that Rockstar is using the fact that Google bought Motorola Mobility as an argument that they are abusing patents when this happened AFTER the group that can't compete bought Nortel.

    ARS has a good series of articles on this if anyone wants to get the full story and not the abbreviated Tom's version.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/patent-war-goes-nuclear-microsoft-apple-owned-rockstar-sues-google/
  • 3 Hide
    GeeLouie , November 4, 2013 8:22 PM
    @otacon
    1) there are not 1000s of android models
    2) there are many of all shapes and sizes and power levels...you know...choice...oh wait...you consume apple therefore you do not know what choice is! lol
    3) apple is the one who sues non-stop and you can bet apple cobbled this lawsuit together. also worth mentioning, certain apple products were banned in the US and Obama reversed the decision protecting apple BUT did not reverse the decision for Samsung. blatant protectionism. Apple cannot compete without the US government protecting them, US media promoting them and Apple suing everyone.
  • 1 Hide
    JD88 , November 4, 2013 8:42 PM
    Every company on that list is a loser in the mobile game and likes to cry about it, especially Microsoft and Apple. Ballmer and Jobs were kings of throwing the spoiled brat fit if they didn't get their way. If you can't beat em, sue em!

    When was the last time anyone saw Google file a patent lawsuit against another major tech company? If I'm not mistaken, Google has a policy that they don't sue unless sued. When was the last time Larry Page or Eric Schmidt publicly said anything bad about another company? It's pretty clear who has the high ground here.

    After looking over a large chunk of what the lawsuit is about, it's not hard to determine that there is very little chance of this going anywhere and that's really fortunate because it's clear who the innovators are and who is dead weight.
  • 0 Hide
    jumpingeebus , November 4, 2013 9:25 PM
    This is their only defense against the destruction android will bring upon them and they now they have a couple a years left in business to try and sue their way back into control of the market. Dinosaurs have to die.
  • 0 Hide
    jumpingeebus , November 4, 2013 9:31 PM
    All of the companies listed except google have been a detriment to innovation my entire life and I for one cannot wait to see them put "up for sale" signs on their businesses.
  • 0 Hide
    jimmysmitty , November 4, 2013 10:04 PM
    Quote:
    The greatest obstacle to progress these days is stupid crap like this. If companies could free up the insane amount of resources they spend protecting themselves from lawsuits and their "intellectual property" it would be amazing to see how quickly things progress. The entire patent system is so flawed and abused that everyone loses as a result.


    It is and needs to be fixed. On the other end, companies have no respect for other companies property. They will use it and then pay fines as it turns out to be cheaper since they get the product out faster and make more money faster.

    Honestly its both parties fault. The one doing the new thing needs to research before release to make sure they are not breaking any patents and the ones who own the patents need to stop wanting exorbitant amounts for simple use.
  • 2 Hide
    tobalaz , November 4, 2013 10:30 PM
    Just imagine..
    Apple could innovate again instead of dumping all their resources into suing other companies for all the ideas Apple stole in the first place!
    Wouldn't the world be a better place?
  • 0 Hide
    mariusmotea , November 4, 2013 11:22 PM
    Google can sue Microsoft for this http://www.mysysadmintips.com/windows/clients/109-google-search-missing-from-ie-search-providers-list
    In Chrome you cand switch to Bing very easy, but in IE you must search google for the addon.
  • 1 Hide
    bharatwd , November 5, 2013 3:13 AM
    totally agree with burnley14......this entire patent system is flawed...........only lawyers are winning in this situation............innovation, time, and resources are lost......moreover, hands are tied to make any sort of progress...........who came up with this [removed]??? learn from the chinese......do u think china cares about patents?? they have a fake apple store running in every other city.............

    Watch the language. - G
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , November 5, 2013 4:22 AM
    In other news, Rockstar Consortium is sued by Rockstar Games for using the name without permission
  • 0 Hide
    Baldarhion , November 5, 2013 5:38 AM
    And the most unbearable things: Nortel... how many people lose their jobs. And how many big company just -like vulture- just keep the patents... So yes... they all sucks.

    An other frightening topic : will they sue Open-Sources dev for patent issue too ? Well... Orwell was right and far under the truth too...
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