Significant number of Rockstar patents to expire in 2017

by: William Neilson JrAugust 3, 2014


As this site has discussed on a number of occasions, patent trolls continue to be a burdensome, innovation-less group on those trying to actually innovate in today’s world.

Recently, we wrote about Rockstar, a shell company that was set up by Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, Sony, EMC, Blackberry and what’s left of Nortel Networks and their 6,000 patents. Rockstar is a well-known troll that is actively targeting hundreds of Silicon Valley companies.

Recently, Rockstar decided that they would start suing others that used any sort of calendar alert. Specifically, the patent was titled “System and method for notifying a user of an incoming communication event.”

Rockstar Patents ELYS

When Rockstar is not suing Google and all Android manufacturers, they are busy filing lawsuits against Charter Communications, Cable One, the Arris Group, Cisco Systems and others.

Now, a legal technology consulting firm, Elysium Digital, analyzed Rockstar’s patent portfolio as of February 21, 2014.

“The firm’s report focuses on the U.S. patents and applications, and includes analysis of current assignments of patent and application assets, areas of technology covered, and timing of patent expiration dates. Elysium based its analysis on public data, including file histories, reassignment data, and patent text provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.” – FierceWireless

Rockstar Patents2 ELYS

The report states that beginning in 2017, “there will be a significant increase in [patent] expirations.” The report also states that between 2019-2021, there will be more than 400 patents expiring in EACH of those calendar years.

Rockstar Patents3 ELYS

As FierceWireless notes, Rockstar’s patents involve “30 percent of patents related to switching and routing; 19 percent relate to telecommunication network techniques and systems; 11 percent relate to optical communications; and 6 percent relate to cellular and mobile communications.”

  • MasterMuffin

    Would it be possible for someone to patent them again and sue companies in Rockstar? Probably not (because even US patent system can’t be that stupid), but that would be a great revenge troll >:D

    • Shark Bait

      No you patent something in exchange for releasing it into the public domain after a maximum of 20 years.

      Plus rockstar don’t actually make anything, so you couldn’t sue them anyway. That’s the fundamentally wrong part of the system, that a company can claim protection against a product they done and never have produced!

      • MasterMuffin

        I thought so. And I ment that they could sue the Apple, Microsoft, Sony etc. :)

      • Lucas Teixeira Gouveia

        I think in Brazil you have this protection: if you don’t make a product out of your patent in “X” years you automatically lose it. We ( I’m from Brazil) recently faced a case like that. A company patented the name iPhone in the 90’s but didn’t use it for the next 20 years or so, and they were about to lose the right to that name. In the end the judicial system let both Apple and Gradiente, the other company, use the name, as long as they clearly indicate the manufacturer.

  • John Doe

    Allowing a patent like Calendar Alerts to exist is like telling manufactures they have to come up with their own unique way to turning on their phones. Sure, you maybe able to come up with 3~4 different methods for turning your phone on, but that would limit the number of manufacturers that could create phones without being sued out of existence!!
    The patent office really has to stop allowing stupid vague patents from being created! The method for creating a patent must be absolutely specific to it’s wording, so the courts can quickly approve or nullify a plaintiff’s case.

    • Shark Bait

      Unfortunately the law is never black and white though. The law is written by lawyers who make money from being able to bend the law to there advantage.
      I do agree though, and the transfer of patents to company’s that don’t produce anything should be stopped.

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  • Sachin

    I am planning on patenting something holographic so when in future it become mainstream, I’ll be suing big tech companies and earn money. Probably a stupid idea but it’s atleast it is some. hahaha.

  • Cory Ducey

    If you own a patent and do not produce a product that uses said patent, there should be a limitation on any patent created (if them a year or 2. if nothing is created in any form as the patent is described (has to include specifics and common sense) then the patent will expire and is free for anyone to use. If a product is produced and placed on the market for sale, then the patent may continue it’s normal life span.

    Also, the frivolous and vague patents such as the infamous “slide to unlock” and round corners need to be nixed as patents. Gestures and shapes, to name a few things should never be allowed as patents.

    that would take care of the BS patents and allow competitors to create products they are willing to create instead of shelving it in the hopes someone breaks the patent “law” and tries to make money because someone wanted to get the idea/technology out there for people to actually use.