Google has reportedly filed a new lawsuit in a California court challenging an Apple-backed consortium known as Rockstar. Google alleges that Rockstar, which comprises heavyweights such as Microsoft, Sony, BlackBerry and others, besides Apple, is using dubious patents to threaten its OEM partners and is unfairly targeting Android, according to a report by GigaOM.
Google claims Rockstar’s patent-driven agenda threatens to damage hundreds of tech businesses in the state and has “placed a cloud on Google’s Android platform” with Nexus devices being a particular target.
Google shoots back
As we reported earlier, Rockstar filed a wave of lawsuits against customers and partners of Google who use Android; this includes ASUS, HTC, Huawei, LG, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE. Rockstar’s patent arsenal is largely thanks to the group’s $4.5 billion, with $2.5 billion coming from Apple, in 2012 for a several patents from Canadian telco Nortel. Google’s filing says Rockstar employs once-proud engineers to help with the patent trolling. “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,” a part of the filing reads.
Google alleges that the campaign has targeted more than 100 companies, including the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn. Google’s biggest concern though is about the Nexus range of phones and tablets. It specifically asks the court to declare the Nexus 5, and the Nexus 7 and 10 don’t infringe on seven patents that belong to Rockstar. If you thought Google is over-reacting with the request, it must be mention that patents relate to very basic functions such as mobile hotspot functionality, VPN management functionality and Messaging and Notification. So in case the court rules against Google, these basic functions will have to be removed, making those phones and Android at large a weaker product.
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