After a federal judge agreed to stay a series of lawsuits between Google and patent consortium, Rockstar, it appears that Apple is ending patent disputes that had come close to being brutal. According to the court filing from the Eastern District of Texas, Rockstar and Google have agreed to terms that “settles, in principle, all matters in controversy between the two parties”. The surprising change of heart also comes on the heels of an announcement that Cisco will be settling their pending litigation with Rockstar to the tune of $188 million.
Rockstar, formed primarily by Apple with help from Microsoft, Ericsson, Blackberry, and Sony, was created in 2011 specifically to purchase $4.5 billion of old Nortel patents. The company then immediately launched several lawsuits against various cable companies, networking companies, and more prominently, Android devices makers including Google, HTC, and Samsung. The lawsuits sparked a global patent war that got so heated it later led Google filing their own lawsuit in an attempt to protect Android device makers from Apple’s assault in 2013. Google’s complaint specifically called out Rockstar for being a patent troll company and nothing more:
“ Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. 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”
While Apple is the majority shareholder (pitching in a reported $2.6 billion into Rockstar’s bid), it appears the five companies that own Rockstar are ready to put an end to their investment and move on, according to the IAM blog. The company has reportedly attempted a well-funded buyout however the shareholders rejected the effort as they did not want to be assosciated with profiting off of the NPE.
The patent war has been a costly one at that is seemingly coming to an end, with Google and Apple resolving their patent dispute earlier this year and Apple and Samsung coming to a similar agreement for all patent cases outside of the US. This trend is welcome news not only for Apple’s rivals but also consumers, who won’t have to pay for the lawsuit costs indirectly in their product purchases.