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Google fights back against Rockstar patent group

The company files suit against the Apple- and Microsoft-backed consortium, asserting that its "patent dragnet" has placed a cloud over Google's Android platform.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
2 min read
Google has filed a lawsuit against the Apple- and Microsoft-backed Rockstar Consortium -- a patent holding group -- claiming that its patent campaign is unfairly targeting Google's Android partners and customers.

The district court complaint, filed Monday in San Jose, Calif., (see below, thank you GigaOm) says Rockstar's litigation campaign is placing "a cloud on Google's Android platform; threatened Google's business and relationships with its customers and partners, as well as its sales of Nexus-branded Android devices; and created a justiciable controversy between Google and Rockstar."

The complaint continues: "Among the myriad companies ensnared in Rockstar's patent dragnet are customers and partners of Google who use the Android platform in their devices, including ASUS, HTC, Huawei, LG, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE."

In October, Rockstar filed suits against Google and other companies over a host of allegedly infringing patents. Other companies in the Rockstar Consortium include BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony.

The melee has been under way since June 2011 when the companies engaged in a tit-for-tat competition to purchase Nortel Networks' 6,000-patent portfolio. While Google tried to buy the Nortel patents for as much as $4.4 billion, it eventually lost out in an auction to the Rockstar Consortium, which bought the patent bundle for $4.5 billion.

Nortel's patents and patent applications encompassed technologies such as wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, and semiconductors. When Google was unable to get in on the Nortel patent portfolio, it instead bought Motorola Mobility and its numerous patents for $12.5 billion in February 2012.

Just Monday, however,Bloomberg reported that Rockstar is "holding discussions" to sell off the Nortel Networks patents because it hasn't been able to broadly license them.

We reached out to Rockstar for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

Google Dec Action vs Rockstar