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Google, meanwhile, takes the fight to the troll

With veteran Finnish phonemaker Nokia Oyj.'s (HEX:NOK1V) out of the smartphone market (for now), but still looking to squeeze large licensing fees from Android OEMs, there's little money to spare.  Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) already have looked to pile on with licensing fees of their own.
 
I. A Fourth Android Tax?
 
Now they're looking to tack on a fourth "Android tax" onto every device sold, with the help of the patents they bought from bankrupt Canadian telecommunications firm Nortel.
 
The goal of the so-called "Rockstar Consortium" -- the patent holding company owned by Microsoft, Apple, and a handful of others including near-dead OEM BlackBerry Ltd. (TSE:BB) -- appears to be to finish the process of bleeding OEMs that use Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS dry, forcing them to flee to Windows Phone or exit the market.
 
Whereas Microsoft's and Apple's respective ongoing litigation against various Android OEMs could be viewed as patent bullying, Rockstar's actions arguably are bona fide trolling, as Rockstar Consortium does not directly produce any phones. 

Rockstar


Further evidence that Microsoft and Apple have bred a specialist troll can be found in Rockstar's choice of venue.  It's filed suit against Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) (#1 Android OEM in U.S. sales), LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570) (#2), ZTE Corp. (SHE:000063) (#4), Huawei Technologies Comp. (SHE:002502) (#6), and HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) (#7) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas -- a favorite jurisdiction among trolls given its pro-plaintiff bench.

Now the Mountain View, Calif.-based Google is taking aim at this "troll", filing a countersuit in its own neck of the woods -- the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Santa Clara.  The suit contends:

Rockstar's litigation campaign has placed a cloud on Google's Android platform; threatened Google's business and relationship with its customers and partners, as well as its sales of Nexus-branded Android devices...

 
Google
Google says it will fight the attempt to troll Android. [Image Source: Google Portland]

It adds:

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 Dec Action vs Rockstar



The Google suit targets Rockstar, as well as a shell-company subsidiary MobileStar Technologies.  Microsoft and Apple founded MobileStar the same day they filed litigation against various Android OEMs, transfering patents from Rockstart to MobileStar, to allow for new suits.

II. Does Android Infringe on Rockstar's Patents?  We May Find Out

In its filing, Google asks the court to examine whether Android smartphones -- namely, the Nexus 5, 7, and 10 -- infringe on seven patents former Nortel patents, now owned by Microsoft and Apple via Rockstar/MobileStar.  These patents form the basis of the lawsuit against Android OEMs in Texas court.
Nortel SoCNortel patent
One of the patents appears to cover nearly all smartphone SoCs. [Image Source: Google Patents]
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,838,551
    • "Electronic package carrying an electronic component and assembly of mother board and electronic package"
    • An ambiguous patent covering systems on a chip for mobile devices
    • Filed: Aug. 1996
    • Granted: Nov. 1998
       
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,037,937
    • "Navigation tool for graphical user interface"
    • Seemingly ubiquitous patent on scrolling in mobile device UIs
    • Filed: Dec. 1997
    • Granted: Mar. 2000
       
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,128,298
    • "Internet protocol filter"
    • Use of standard selective port-based internet communications
    • Filed: April. 1997
    • Granted: Oct. 2000
       
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,333,973
    • "Integrated message center"
    • A patent covering contacts lists in mobile devices
    • Filed: Apr. 1997
    • Granted: Dec. 2001
       
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,463,131
    • "System and method for notifying a user of an incoming communication event"
    • Claims "invention" of sound, vibration, or visual notification events when receiving an email or other message
    • Filed: Dec. 1997
    • Granted: Oct. 2002
       
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,765,591
    • "Managing a virtual private network"
    • Describes mobile interfaces for accessing VPNs.
    • Filed: Apr. 1999
    • Granted: Jul. 2004
       
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,937,572
    • "Call trace on a packet switched network"
    • Support for networking messaging paths for phone calls.
    • Filed: Dec. 2000
    • Granted: Aug. 2005
Many of these patents appear to be representative of the controversial practice of repatenting existing, ubiquitous hardware and software technologies in a mobile context.  As the patents are worded vaguely and ambiguously, these 90s-era filings still sound pertinent today.

Google Nexus 5, 7, and 10
The new suit looks at the legal status of the Nexus 5, 7, and 10.

The case has been automatically assigned to Judge Paul S. Grewal.  Rockstar is expected to petition the federal judge, to reassign the case to Eastern Texas, where it would likely be dismissed. Google, meanwhile, will fight in preliminary hearings to allow its case to be heard in the somewhat more favorable jurisdiction.
 
III. As Rockstar's Trolling Grows Bolder, Google Takes Action
 
Google's filing marks a bold new legal tactic -- where Google itself is looking to leverage its brand, influence, and legal prowess to directly attack attempts to harass its Android OEM partners.
 
Previously Google had only fought Microsoft and Apple at a distance, via its subsidiary Motorola Mobility (who, incidentally was purchased for $12.5B USD in Aug. 2011 following Google's failed counterbid for the Nortel portfolio).  But as Microsoft and Apple look to distance themselves from the smartphone legal battlefield via the use of trollish shell companies, Google is looking to enter the fray directly for the first time.

Lawsuit
[Image Source: Shutter Stock]

The new filing represents a proactive and unusual technique -- Google is asking the court to declare whether its product infringes.

Currently that tactic appears to be on weak footing, legally.  An appeal to a similar filing by Cisco in the case Cisco Systems, Inc. v. Alberta Telecom ended in an Aug. 2013 ruling by the U.S. Circuit Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). 

Pirates of Silicon Valley
Apple and Microsoft are trying to plunder Google.

The ruling asserted that a company (like Google) could not try to challenge a suit against its customers with a suit of its own.  The key thing here is that Cisco Systems, Inc.'s (CSCO) strategy was nearly identical to Google's, and, more crucially, was filed in the same jurisdiction.
 
So why are Google's lawyers even trying with this filing?  Well, there's reason to believe that precedent could soon be broken by legislation.
 
There's a key upcoming change in IP law, under the Innovation Act of 2013.  Passed resoundingly by the U.S. House of Representatives, the law would allow a company like Google, whose product (Android) is used by business partners (OEMs, e.g. Samsung) to take on some of those business partners’ lawsuits.  Specifically if a suit against a partner (e.g. Samsung) targets the seller's product (e.g. Android), the seller can assume responsibility for the suit.  This is meant to prevent multiple identical suits against "end users" of software -- a popular trolling tactic.
 
While the current Senate equivalent -- the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 (S. 1720) [PDF] -- is widely viewed as substantially watered down, it does include a somewhat weakened version of this vital provision.
 
Once the House and Senate come to some sort of conclusion regarded patent reform, Google may be able to use the new provisions of the law to further advance its bid to slay the Rockstar troll directly.
 
IV. Trolling Campaign Expands
 
Meanwhile Rockstar has filed a second suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (another popular jurisdiction among trolls) under the name "Bockstar".  This time the suit accuses Cisco of violating Nortel patents on routers and switches.

Cisco
Microsoft and Apple are also trolling Cisco via Rockstar.

But wait -- there's more -- back in Texas, Rockstar has filed a third suit, this time against Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC).  The third suit uses US Patent No. 6,128,649, a multi-screen video conferencing patent filed in 1997 along with five other 90s-era Nortel patents.  It is filed on behalf of "Constellation Technologies LLC" -- another Rockstar-owned shell company.

Rockstar v TWC



In short, Microsoft and Apple appear no longer content to simply troll the mobile space, they want to troll all manner of connected technology.  It remains to be seen whether this approach backfires.

The increased aggression comes amidst a separate report by Bloomberg that Microsoft and Apple may look to sell off some of Rockstar's patents, amidst difficulty in court.  Of course this could simply be an extension of the misdirection campaign Microsoft and Apple are already employing, using shell companies to avoid the appearance of trolling.

In addition to Microsoft, Apple, and BlackBerry, other minority owners of Rockstar include Japan's Sony Corp. (TYO:6758), Sweden's Ericsson AB (STO:ERIC.A, ERIC.B), and the Mass.-based EMC Corp. (EMC). 

Sony, in particular, is notable, in that it's a minor Android OEM.  If somehow Microsoft and Apple are able to troll other Android OEMs to death, Sony could see gains in market share, as the only OEM who doesn't have to pay direct licensing fees to Microsoft/Apple (Sony also notably has preexisting licensing deals with Microsoft and Apple).

Sources: Google countersuit on Scribd, Bloomberg, Gigaom



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Why didnt Google do that first?
By w8gaming on 12/27/2013 1:58:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well, all such patents are generic and ambigiously broad. If Google has purchased these patents themselves, it will have the chance to sue Microsoft and Apple instead. The question is, why didn't Google do it? Surely the Android vendors had been bullied enough and is Google still so naive to believe in "do no evil"?




RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By wickyman on 12/27/2013 5:24:20 AM , Rating: 2
Google purchased Motorola in an effort to gain some patents and protection. They stated clearly in their own " Facts about Google's Acquisition of Motorola FAQ: "Motorola Mobility’s patent portfolio will help protect the Android ecosystem. Android, which is open-source software, is vital to competition in the mobile device space, ensuring hardware manufacturers, mobile phone carriers, applications developers and consumers all have choice. "

Of course Google has taken advantage of Motorola's mobile device team in pushing a number of great phones, it would seem that is just a beneficial side effect. All Google wanted was the 17,000 patents they held as a mobile device pioneer, and figured the $12.4 billion was more reasonable than getting into a bidding war with Apple and Microsoft and driving the price well in excess of true value.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/27/13, Rating: -1
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/27/2013 2:19:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
by Mitch101 on December 27, 2013 at 1:47 PM

...also worth pointing out is that Microsoft Communications head Frank Shaw attached a screenshot to a tweet reflecting Google General Counsel Kent Walker's refusal to Microsoft's offer.

That email reads:

Brad –

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.

I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

– Kent

So say what you will about Rockstar's lawsuits, but it's hard to feel terribly bad for Google given that this could have easily been avoidable.

Good point, Mitch, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility that perhaps Google was concerned about being overidden by Microsoft and Apple, and being associated with exactly the kind of for-profit trolling that Rockstar is committing now.

I'm not saying Google is an "angel". It can be criticized for collecting so much data on individuals and resisting more public privacy control wrt data mining.

But as far as I have seen, one way Google has not yet been evil is in being an overt patent troll.

You can complain all you want that Microsoft and Apple are just "monetizing their investment", but that stinks of hypocrisy as these same companies have complained about rival trolls like Intellectual Ventures monetizing their investments, much of which was bought from small inventors or large bankrupt firms, just like this one.

When Apple and Microsoft were suing just Android OEMs maybe it could be viewed as just patent bullying. But now with the new suits against cable companies and router makers (e.g. Time Warner and Cisco) via a host of shell companies that are being spawned by Rockstar, it's hard to view Rockstar as anything but a troll.

Yes, Microsoft and Apple are monetizing their investment. They're doing so by trolling. Basically their view is trolling is bad EXCEPT if they're the ones making money off it.

Seems to me that maybe Google didn't want any part of that.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/27/13, Rating: -1
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By sprockkets on 12/27/2013 10:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
RockStar is a group of manufacturing companies investment into the Nortel Patent Portfolio. Its not a patent troll where a group of non-manufacturers group aka investors group together to purchase valuable patents to sue others and yet never produce a product.


What new products can MS, apple and company produce with patents from the late 1990s?

Why didn't Nortel sue Android OEMs or Google on their patents? Could it be that maybe, they aren't, a patent troll?!


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/28/2013 1:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ok why did Google Partner with the Rockstar group in the purchase of even older patent portfolio from Kodak?


By sprockkets on 12/28/2013 9:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
Google partnered with apple, heard nothing since. Presumably for photo patents and the like.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Camikazi on 12/30/2013 3:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
Since they bought the patents this is pretty much the only thing we have seen from them and it is a patent lawsuit. I have seen no new developments, no new products, no new tech just a starting volley of lawsuits. That is a patent troll, Nortel had these patents and did not sue yet Rockstar gets their hands on them and it's the first thing they do.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By w8gaming on 12/28/2013 6:15:41 AM , Rating: 2
Despite all the points that you have made, if you look at the actual patents being used to launch the latest lawsuit, and you can see these patents worth nothing as far as creativity is concerned. They are all re-patenting the same thing that has exist before but somehow get the approval from patent office. To me, using useless patents to launch lawsuit is 100% trolling. No excuse for Apple and MS to do this while they are already making bilions year after year. This is an act of bullying, to intimidate and eliminate other competitors in the techology scene, which is very bad for actual innnovation.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/28/2013 3:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If your going to call MS and Apple trolls include be sure to add in EMC, RIM, and Sony because they also were with Rockstar in the patent purchase. Oh also add Google because Google also partnered with Rockstar in the purchase of the Kodak Patent portfolio.

Sorry if the author chose to leave out details, failed to any actual research, or if he chose to target certain companies.
From the article....
quote:

In addition to Microsoft, Apple, and BlackBerry, other minority owners of Rockstar include Japan's Sony Corp. (TYO:6758), Sweden's Ericsson AB (STO:ERIC.A, ERIC.B), and the Mass.-based EMC Corp. (EMC).

Sony, in particular, is notable, in that it's a minor Android OEM. If somehow Microsoft and Apple are able to troll other Android OEMs to death, Sony could see gains in market share, as the only OEM who doesn't have to pay direct licensing fees to Microsoft/Apple (Sony also notably has preexisting licensing deals with Microsoft and Apple).
I mean, seriously Mitch, usually I don't mind your comments and when you are critical of my writing on occasion, typically it's something valid like a typo.

But in this case you clearly didn't even bother to read the article fully.

And you're spewing nonsense about a nonexistent invite by Microsoft and Apple on the Nortel bid. If that was true, I would gladly have added it (as that would be a fascinating twist).

But it's not... it's just a lie you made up to make you feel better about this abusive behavior.

I've searched around and have found NO EVIDENCE of that... literally none.

The quotes you stated all involved an old Novell bid, which really has little bearing on the current topic.

The fact that you continue to spew misinformation and then attack me for not parroting your claims that have no legitimate source is making you look like an angry fanboy on this issue.

Yes, Sony, Ericsson, EMC, and Blackberry are also condoning Rockstar's trolling.... of course they are. Blackberry is half dead, and Sony is teetering on the red. Of course both companies would be eager for cash at any cost, regardless of whether it's abusive.

But you can't tell me a company that PRODUCES NOTHING and spawns a bunch of fake shell companies to sue people isn't being abusive. Is it monetizing assets? Sure. But it's monetizing them by abuse. All of Rockstar's owners are to blame for that. Period. End of story.

Again, in general, I respect your opinion, but you're only hurting your own "cause" by quoting fake "facts" to readers and you attack my article for omissions that are right there staring you in the face if you bothered to read it.

RTFA. k?


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/28/2013 6:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think Ive ever corrected your grammar on the site. Possibly once so I think your mistaking me for someone else.

If Google didn't chose to work with Rockstar and bid on the patents and lost then Google is liable to pay for infringing on them. Obviously they saw value in the patents that's why they bid on them and chose to compete for the patents. Now there is no telling how and what Google would have done with the patents because they lost. Had they won and as Motorola has shown through violating FRAND patents they would have used Motorola to be the troll your article so gloriously conveys MS and Apple of being. What kind of a-hole get with the industry to come up with a standard than patents that industry standard in order to file lawsuits against others. Google/Motorola - Yup dont be evil but lets not write and overglorified troll article about that lets just make MS/Apple evil because comments, clicks, and Ads pay.

Google looses out on patent purchase and cry that the patent system is flawed. Then why even bid on them just make a case to the patent system that these patents on chap 11 companies should be open to everyone. No instead just use it as a crutch for failure and start campaigning through social media instead of manning up and licensing a deal.

Obviously Google did a little growing up when they sided with rockstar on the Kodak patents. Why not let that slide too if the system is really broken? But they didn't because they know the bed they made the first two times around. And really arent Microsoft/Apple/SONY,RIM who are in the mobile industry allowed to pursue mobile related and tech patents to strengthen their portfolio because of all the hoopla of these cross lawsuits? There were plenty of these lawsuits well before the nortel patents went up for auction and if you can spend a few billion to prevent future ones from effecting your industry you do it.

Fact is your upset that Microsoft/Apple won these patents but Google would have done the same don't kid yourself and others with a trash article calling one side a troll because they won the Patents and are enforcing them.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/29/2013 11:32:49 AM , Rating: 2
You're a liar and a charlatan Mitch. Do everyone a favor and drop it, just go away.

quote:
Obviously Google did a little growing up


When will you?

quote:
Fact is your upset that Microsoft/Apple won these patents


Amazing! Now Jason Mick is a Google fanboi too? Incredible that everyone who doesn't support patent trolling and these underhanded tactics is just some Microsoft/Apple hater.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/29/2013 11:57:01 AM , Rating: 3
Coming from the biggest loser Ive ever seen online in my entire life and not just this site either.

But after reading this its time I moved on and put my old site back online and did my own thing. Im busy specing out a Virtual Pinball machine so that will be my comeback article. Doing fun interesting things with the PC instead of arguing fanboi BS articles of BIAS.


By Reclaimer77 on 12/29/2013 12:26:33 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever, don't go away angry. Just go away.

quote:
Coming from the biggest loser Ive ever seen online in my entire life


Says the supposedly married adult with kids who resorted to lame penis and mother insults routinely when faced with opposition...


By Cheesew1z69 on 12/29/2013 4:33:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Coming from the biggest loser Ive ever seen online in my entire life and not just this site either.
Pot...Kettle...


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/28/2013 9:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
Rockstar, doesn't produce anything....


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/28/2013 2:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
How do you purchase thousands of patents and divide them up equally among multiple competing companies without worrying that your giving all the good ones to a single company? The Answer is you cant. So the group creates a separate entity and in exchange all contributing parties received cross license agreements and none can sue one another because they ALL have rights to the same patents.

Google learned to join the mix in the Kodak patent purchase so Google is as much a troll with a hand in Rockstar as everyone else.

Previously Google tried to purchase these other patent portfolios leveraging international carriers and lost to the group that funded Rockstar. How many companies would Google and the international carriers be suing had they won?


By Cheesew1z69 on 12/28/2013 7:00:08 PM , Rating: 2
Once again....

quote:
Rockstar Consortium Inc., originally named Rockstar Bidco,[1] is an organization formed by a consortium including Apple, Inc. and Microsoft[1] to negotiate licensing for patents acquired from bankrupt Nortel.[2][3] Other companies in the consortium include BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony.[4] Rockstar is a patent holding non-practicing entity (NPE) and submitted the winning US$4.5 billion bid for the Nortel patents at a week-long auction held in New York in June 2011. [5]


Rockstar, themselves, do NOT make anything, NOTHING.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/27/2013 6:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So say what you will about Rockstar's lawsuits, but it's hard to feel terribly bad for Google given that this could have easily been avoidable.


Even from you I'm shocked at this. Where is the logic in this? Can you please give me some insight into your thought process?

Also it's not Google that's being trolled, it's Android OEM device makers. Would joining Rockstar really avoid any of this? We have no idea!

Your argument is like telling a woman she wouldn't have been raped if she just agreed to have sex with the guy...


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/27/2013 7:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Follow the link its from the author of the article.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By sprockkets on 12/27/2013 10:17:30 PM , Rating: 6
You are wrong Mitch - that stupid tweet was for *Novell's patents* NOT Nortels.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/28/2013 2:54:39 AM , Rating: 2
Great catch sprockkets!

Mitch101 was wrong -- it was indeed re: Novell patents, not Nortel patents as Mitch101 suggested.

Mitch101, do you agree your initial comment was misleadingly worded?


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By slunkius on 12/30/2013 1:29:26 AM , Rating: 1
aww man, so you can't own up to a honest mistake? say that the source was wrong, we'll understand. now you just come as a whiner.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Mitch101 on 12/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By ritualm on 12/28/2013 3:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
*facepalm*

Novell isn't Nortel. You still post as if they're the same company. Get a hint.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/27/2013 8:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
Google claims there was collusion between the parties and they were left out of the process at various stages. Judging by the behavior of all involved, I'm willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt and agree that this whole debacle was not on the level from the start, and fairness was never the goal.

Having said that, do you mean you would rather Google fight fire with fire? Meh, I respect Google for competing on their products own merits and NOT becoming a patent troll like the rest of these losers.

As far as these patents listed, you know sitting here reading them I don't think they are worth five dollars. Let alone billions! I can't believe you can patent such nonsense and claim ownership of ubiquitous ideas.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Tony Swash on 12/27/13, Rating: -1
By retrospooty on 12/27/2013 9:51:05 AM , Rating: 2
Where you consistently fail is to see Apple for what they are. just another company that pull dirty tricks to get their way. MS rev2.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/27/2013 9:51:44 AM , Rating: 2
We're on the outside looking in. You are just listing the most bare-bones highlights. We have NO idea what it was like on the inside during the actual negotiation process.

Google does, and I'll take their word for it.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By nafhan on 12/27/2013 10:18:53 AM , Rating: 2
Tony knows what happened on the inside: Apple did the right thing!


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Tony Swash on 12/27/13, Rating: -1
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By retrospooty on 12/27/13, Rating: -1
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Tony Swash on 12/27/2013 12:36:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
No, Google bought moto and its patent portfolio to FEND OFF Apple's endless patent trolling attack.


Apple didn't sue, or even threaten, to sue Google before Google purchased Motorola so there was nothing to fend off.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By retrospooty on 12/27/2013 12:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
Apple sued and threatened to sue all major Android OEM's including Samsung, Moto, HTC and many others.

Here is a nice little graphic of the smartphone patents wars.

http://i.imgur.com/NuQocU6.png

Tell me, who is at the center of it all involved with more suits than any other? You guessed it (although you already knew it) Its "Precious"


By Cheesew1z69 on 12/27/2013 3:35:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Tell me, who is at the center of it all involved with more suits than any other? You guessed it (although you already knew it) Its "Precious"
This is Tonys response to this.

http://kanner.tv/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/iStock...


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By cbf on 12/27/2013 5:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
Your link is to a truncated version of that graphic. Here's the original: http://assets.fiercemarkets.com/files/wireless/fie... Looks like it hasn't been updated since 2011.


By retrospooty on 12/28/2013 8:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone can Google "smartphone patent war chart" and get a ton of graphs. They all show Apple with more lawsuits than any other.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By nafhan on 12/27/2013 1:12:36 PM , Rating: 1
So, it sounds like you're saying that Google should have joined a consortium that would have protected the patents in a way that's completely contrary to Google's business model and screws over the Android OEM's? Apple did it, so it must be right!
quote:
Google are pussies.
When I see something like this, I automatically translate it to: "I'm mentally 12 years old, and recently learned some naughty words!" Still, it nicely distills most of what you say into a single sentence. So, points for brevity if you can just stick to that in the future.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Tony Swash on 12/27/13, Rating: 0
RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By nafhan on 12/27/2013 3:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Would achieving sole ownership of the Nortel patents...
How can you quote me AND get that wrong? Joining the consortium would be contrary to their business model (which is what I said). Sole ownership may have been useful, but was probably never a real possibility. Apple + MS have/had way more cash than Google.
quote:
Google's Motorola division is very active in taking legal actions almost of which are based on SEP and FRAND patents (and have as a result been mostly unsuccessful)
Innovation and cooperation < "something obvious/existing, but MOBILE! (or online)" - at least in East Texas. Good example of what's wrong with the system.

Also, looked up this definition for your benefit:
quote:
Collusion takes place within an industry when rival companies cooperate for their mutual benefit. Collusion most often takes place within the market structure of oligopoly, where the decision of a few firms to collude can significantly impact the market as a whole.
That's patent pools in a nutshell.


By retrospooty on 12/27/2013 3:37:02 PM , Rating: 3
"How can you quote me AND get that wrong?"

Because he isn't here for the purpose of getting anything right, nor is he here to get informed on any tech news/happenings... He is here for the sole purpose of making Apple look better. Talking up Apple in any and all matters and talking down any Apple competitor in any and all matters. Whether is product, patents, politics, legal matters, or anything else. Apple is always right and their competitors are always wrong, no matter what.

The worls is very simple when you live in a vacuum.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By nafhan on 12/27/2013 10:15:58 AM , Rating: 2
Because that would have made just Google safe from these attacks - not the OEM's. It also might have prevented Google from HELPING the OEM's. Google would have needed to completely wrest control of the entire pool away from the consortium... and they've got a lot less cash on hand than Apple, much less Apple, MS, and friends.


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/27/2013 4:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
Great points.

Don't you love armchair CEO's who think they know more than those actually involved?

We're all guilty of it, sure. But in Tony's case the bias is just amazing. The world revolves around Apple, I guess Google didn't get the memo?


RE: Why didnt Google do that first?
By nafhan on 12/27/2013 5:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I find discussing and speculating on this stuff kind of enjoyable.

Some people are definitely easier to dispute than others. Almost sad.


By synapse46 on 1/2/2014 10:07:08 AM , Rating: 2
If the targeted companies dropped the FAT file system from their phones seem this would alleviate 80%? of the MS tax.


Troll me not
By Nortel on 12/26/2013 9:17:54 PM , Rating: 3
Apple/MS paid $4.5 billion for these patents and it's somehow surprising to enforce them? Enforcing a 4.5 billion dollar investment is anything but trolling (perhaps understand the definition of trolling).




RE: Troll me not
By ritualm on 12/26/2013 11:20:25 PM , Rating: 3
They didn't buy the patents for nothing. All they want is force everyone else off the market, raise prices across the continuum, and kill real innovation at its tracks.

You are delusional.


RE: Troll me not
By Samus on 12/27/2013 12:38:59 AM , Rating: 2
Keeping in mind that a Windows license costs $100-150 and an Office license ranges from $100-$400 and is an annual fee in its cheapest form, consider how much other things you "take for granted" would cost if Microsoft had its was.

Because before their monopoly of the operating system and productivity market, operating systems like MS-DOS, IBM-DOS, PC-DOS, OS/2, Novell, and for a short time, Windows, were all around $50.

There needs to be competition. Software patents are BS.


RE: Troll me not
By Tony Swash on 12/27/2013 12:42:20 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
They didn't buy the patents for nothing. All they want is force everyone else off the market, raise prices across the continuum, and kill real innovation at its tracks.


Presumably the reason Google bid over $3 billion for the same patents was to be nice to everyone.


RE: Troll me not
By nafhan on 12/27/2013 1:17:39 PM , Rating: 2
I was under the impression that they primarily bid on them to drive up the price... Maybe bidding pi on it was a coincidence?


RE: Troll me not
By retrospooty on 12/27/2013 7:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
"Apple/MS paid $4.5 billion for these patents and it's somehow surprising to enforce them? Enforcing a 4.5 billion dollar investment is anything but trolling"

Buying/Submitting patents with the intention of keeping others out of the market? That is the very definition of patent troll.


RE: Troll me not
By nafhan on 12/27/2013 10:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing it's some sort of weird coincidence your user name is "Nortel"?


It's amazing what passes for a patent
By amanojaku on 12/26/2013 11:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
I read the first one and nearly threw my mouse through the screen. I read the second and nearly suffered a fit of apoplexy. I'm pretty sure I read the last five, but when I try to think about them, everything goes white and my head hurts...

These patents are junk. There's no technology in them, just a bunch of statements. They essentially say "we're patenting a flying car!" without explaining HOW this car can feasibly fly. It's pretty clear that filing patents is about being as vague as possible in order to milk as many licensees as possible. The original concept of building something is lost (you couldn't build a thing from any of these; using any of them as a template, you could submit a patent for a teleporter, and it would pass). The USPTO is unnecessary as is, and the patent system is broken.




RE: It's amazing what passes for a patent
By kleinma on 12/27/2013 12:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
You don't patent things like "flying cars" you patent the various components of it. There is no technology in them except that they were concepts thought up and applied to products from that company when no one else had ever made anything like it. It is really, really easy to look back and call something obvious after it has been in use for a long time and become something we wonder what we did before it existed.

Google wants to be all high and mighty about this with relation to patents on devices and software because google makes no money from devices and software. Google makes money from ads and targeting marketing, which they hold several patents on, and will go after anyone who might infringe on those.


By ven1ger on 12/27/2013 2:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
Care to back up your statement that Google sue others with some cases? The only cases I have read that Google has sued anyone is in retaliation for being sued or it partners have been sued.

I did try to find any evidence of Google using it's patent pool to stifle competition instead as a defensive pool but only found this on foss patents by Florian Mueller, who is a known paid MS shill

"Google files first patent infringement suit in company history to hit back at BT." - 2013

So, I'm wondering what these claims that you make are based on?


Working when dead.
By drycrust3 on 12/27/2013 12:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Filed: Aug. 1996
Granted: Nov. 1998

I know I don't know much about American patents, but I thought the life expectancy of one was 15 years, so why is Rockstar chasing OEMs who use the Android operating system for patents that have or are about to expire?




RE: Working when dead.
By cbf on 12/27/2013 5:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
Twenty years if the patent was filed after June 8, 1995 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_of_patent_in_the... So that patent would be good until 2018.

Prior to June 8, 1995, US patents were good for 17 years.


RE: Working when dead.
By sprockkets on 12/28/2013 6:02:39 PM , Rating: 2
The wonderful system in the US also allows patent holders to go back 6 years after expiration also for lost royalties or whatever.


This time it really is patent trolling
By troysavary on 12/26/2013 9:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
The term patent troll gets thrown around a lot, often without understanding what it means. A troll is a company that uses patents that it doesn't actually produce anything using, and usually with patents that were bought. So this case qualifies, unlike previous MS patent claims against Android phone vendors. In those cases, it involved patents that MS developed, were currently using themselves, and had licensed to others already. They were valid patents. These are not.

Of course, the Canadian government is partially to blame here. RIM, back when they were king of the smartphone hill, tried to purchase Nortel and were inexplicably blocked. Sure, they later got a piece as part of this consortium, but at the time, RIM wanted Nortel's networking business. I think they had plans to expand into becoming a carrier as well as a device maker.




By nafhan on 12/27/2013 10:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
Eh... "troll" isn't quite a legal definition. Lately it seems to have morphed more into a description of a company using the legal system to try and get money out of bad patents.


Legal Smog.
By drycrust3 on 12/27/2013 2:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Many of these patents appear to be representative of the controversial practice of repatenting existing, ubiquitous hardware and software technologies in a mobile context.

It seems to me that the boundary between what is and isn't patentable is slowly but surely being eroded, as is the meaning of the wording in a patent: the less it says the more it means, the more nonsense the more it defines, and what the words say isn't what it says, it means what the owner says the words mean.
The end result will be this grey legal mushy fog world with patents having almost no wording, no meaning, nothing being defined, court cases being conducted by the patent owners. It will be impossible to manufacture or import anything new into America without a ton of legal wrangles (unless you happen to be the top patent owner).




RE: Legal Smog.
By w8gaming on 12/28/2013 6:56:56 AM , Rating: 2
I feel the same way. That's why I have been wondering why didn't Google just join the fray and start suing others with its own list of pointless patents? I am suggesting this only to make every company who is happily suing others to realize that the patent lawsuit can go either way, and a wake up call to the government or politicians who might have been taking side with certain companies. Patent lawsuit using useless patents is not the solution to a company's market share and profitability. It does more harm than good. The sooner most of these lawsuits are thrown out of court the better, and guidelines should be drawn to stop obvious trolling like this.


Now we know...
By Bostlabs on 12/27/2013 4:52:43 PM , Rating: 2
We now know that the robot army will be for.
:D




RE: Now we know...
By Bostlabs on 12/27/2013 4:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh! Proofread, Bost.

We now know WHAT the robot army is for.


By JohnThacker on 12/27/2013 9:41:05 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, the law passed by the House removed a tentative provision that would have expanded "covered business method review" that would have helped eliminate low quality patents. This was done at the behest of many companies that own patents and (though I was insulted here when I pointed this out earlier), universities, who still oppose the bill:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/12/patent-...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/...

https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=8E724EAD...

In the third link you can see (on pages 7 and 8) letters on official AAU (and other university groups) stationary attacking the expanded covered business method review and praising its removal from the legislation:
quote:
Included among those improvements, in our view, are the elimination of the expansion of the kinds of patents that can be reviewed...


The universities side with Apple and Microsoft on the patent bill, as I said. I'm not sure why I was attacked for saying so on the previous story. I think that they, like Apple and Microsoft, are in the wrong. The trolling has gone too far and the patent system needs reform, even if that affects a few good patents as well.




Why is it..
By jmmx on 1/1/2014 2:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
Why is it that if Apple tries to enforce its patents it is a Troll, but when Motorola/Google, or Samsung sue to gouge FRAND patents, they are not?




"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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