In a bid to curtail litigation expenses Rockstar Consortium has decided to sell $4.5 billion worth of patents, for a meager $900 million!
Rockstar made to feel the pinch
Backed by tech giants like Apple, Blackberry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony the Rockstar Consortiums bid to continue with its lawsuit against Android for patent infringement has been brought to an end with the sale to RPX, a clearinghouse company for patents. This move will also drop the lawsuits planned against HTC, LG, and Samsung.
The Rockstar Consortium was formed in 2011 for the purpose of jointly acquiring about 6,000 patents, the majority of which are based on technologies related to chips, optics, and wireless. These patents, mostly owned by the bankrupt Nortel Networks, were acquired by Rockstar to keep Google from purchasing and using them in their products and services.
Also they were meant to be used by the patent attorneys to sue Android’s partners for patent infringement and curtail the competition. This ploy was successful with only some of the major players like Cisco, Google, and Huawei bowed down and decided to settle their respective lawsuits while most of the others have decided to holdout rather than give in for a while.
Time to focus on your own business line, say the largest smartphone makers
The cost of patent lawsuits and expensive patent attorneys has made the backers of Rockstar realize that suing competitors for patent infringement is no longer viable for business.
As a result, Apple has been negotiating settlement for example with Motorola, where the respective companies have dropped lawsuits made against each other and have been winding down on other lawsuits; Microsoft now receives royalty payments from Android manufacturers like Samsung; while Blackberry faces a growing attrition in market share so it cannot afford to carry on costly patent lawsuits.
Most of the companies in the Consortium that face increasing competition are not interested in carrying on with the patent lawsuits as they either do not have or just cannot afford the resources required to be devoted to these patent suits. Making out of court settlements or selling these patents can help them recover some of their investments and concentrate on growing their businesses. According to patent attorneys, with the USPTO now toughening its stand on patent reviews, the chances of patent trolls making a fortune will hopefully dwindle.
Keeping away from patent trolls
This sale of the network patents by Rockstar at a fraction of their value sums up the way mega technological companies having large shares in the mobile and networking markets have started viewing patent lawsuits. They have realized that it is better to focus on their own line of business and compete in the markets through their products rather than patents, a strategy that could possibly be more productive for the company. The fast pace of technological and the cost of patents have also made them realize the need to focus on rolling out their products and services faster and keep them safe from patent trolls.
News that is not so hot for Rockstar is better for society anyhow. What has Rockstar brought to humanity accept for greed?