Patent troll strikes again, this time with calendar alerts

by: William Neilson JrJuly 23, 2014


As we have discussed previously, patent trolls have been under sharp attack in the last few months due to the general public becoming aware to the danger that trolls have on the business industry. We have trolls claiming that they have patented bill paying online, patented any mobile apps with a form to submit data and patented podcasts in general.

Now, GigaOM alerts us to an ongoing case in Texas between Google and Rockstar, a shell company that has come about from what’s left of Nortel, Apple and Microsoft.

Why Texas?

As Joe Mullin of Ars Technica and others have shown, a disproportionate amount of cases keep landing in Gilstrap’s court, where patent-friendly juries are happy to keep the litigation train rolling along — and help ensure local hotels and restaurants stay brimming with out-of-town lawyers. – GigaOM

tx_vs_ca Vox

Rockstar is a well-known troll that is actively targeting hundreds of Silicon Valley companies. Rockstar has sued Android phone makers such as Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE because they supposedly violate a number of older Nortel patents. Which ones? Let’s get to that in a bit.

The Rockstar patents at issue include one titled “System and method for notifying a user of an incoming communication event.”

On Monday, a U.S. District Judge refused Google’s request to throw out the case. Google claimed that based on the Supreme Court’s recent 9-0 decision, Alice Corp., which held that taking familiar ideas and implementing them through a computer should not qualify for patent protection, the case should be thrown out. The Court did not agree.

patentcases_chart NRP

Rockstar is now a company that does absolutely nothing other than actively seeking out other companies to threaten. As TechDirt notes, eight of the company’s staff are lawyers.

“Ideas are worth nothing by themselves. Ideas only matter if you execute, and anyone who’s ever actually executed on an idea will tell you that the original idea almost is never reflected in the final product. The process of going from idea to actual product is a process by which you learn that what matters is not what you thought mattered. And yet, for reasons that make no sense to anyone who has ever actually built a product, creating monopolies around the ideas only serves to create a massive tollbooth towards actual innovation. And that’s what we have here — and it’s funded by Apple and Microsoft.” – Mike Masnick, TechDirt

Rockstar has not even been in existence for that long yet has been accused of shady tactics. For example, Rockstar has demanded that companies who agree to pay them must sign non-disclosure agreements BEFORE Rockstar even tells the companies which patents it is actually infringing upon. Amazing.

“Instead of telling companies how technologies they use infringed its patents, Rockstar “provided only what it deemed ‘exemplary’ patents from its portfolio for evaluation,” the cable companies said in the court filing. “This left accused infringers with no way to meaningfully evaluate Rockstar’s infringement allegations, to refute its allegations of infringement, or to determine the actual value of the relevant patents within Rockstar’s portfolio.” – TheHill

  • Luka Mlinar

    If Tesla was alive today, he couldn’t invent sh*t without ending up broke and in jail. A 6 year old kid that can draw can patent anything with enough money. This future we built for ourselves is sad.

  • TechGuy

    Thank heavens I don’t live in the USA where the legal system seems totally broken.

    • Luka Mlinar

      I call it legalized corruption. It’s the new fad for suits:D

  • Rockstar sucks

    A few more details you should add:

    BlackBerry and Sony are also part of Rockstar, along with Microsoft and Apple.

    The patents held by Rockstar are actually a valid threat, which was why Google tried to buy them when Nortel went bankrupt. Unfortunately, Rockstar outbid Google.

    Many analysts think that Google bought Motorola and its patents after losing the bid to threaten to counter-sue Rockstar’s sponsors. Unfortunately, this tactic seems to be not working.

    I worry for Google and Android.

    • Josh

      They were able to get together and buy the patents (Microsoft Apple etc..). if I remember correctly Google had the opportunity to be part of the Rockstar sale but they declined and bid on their own. We all know how well that worked out for Google. Either way Android is a superior product and Apple and Microsoft know it.

  • darwisbong

    great post
    jam tangan pria