Google is sick and tired of being pushed around and has fired off a new lawsuit against Rockstar, the patent holding company jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Sony and Ericsson. Rockstar has been using patents from an old Nortel portfolio to launch a series of lawsuits against Google and other Android OEMs.
Google claims that the company, a patent litigator, had “placed a cloud on Google’s Android platform,” and that its barrage of lawsuits are threatening the Nexus line of phones. The lawsuit filed by Google is aimed at protecting Google’s partners.
Among the myriad of 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.
Apple and the other owners of Rockstar all purchased the old Nortel patents back in 2012 for $2.5 billion. In its lawsuit, Google offers up some strong words against the company, stopping just shy of calling Rockstar a patent troll.
Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation.
Google’s claim is that Rockstar has targeted Android a disproportionate number of times in a section called “Rockstar’s Campaign Against Android.” The claim also calls out Rockstar’s CEO stating that over 100 companies like LinkedIn and Facebook infringe on the patents.
Google is arguing that the “the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10 devices sold by Google directly or indirectly” don’t infringe seven patents that belong to Rockstar or to “MobileStar,” another faceless company that “was formed for litigation one day before Rockstar filed its lawsuits against Google’s customers.”
The patents in question include basic functions like “mobile hotspot functionality,” ”VPN management functionality” and “Messaging and Notification.”
Line drawn in the sand?