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Google tries to protect partners, Nexus devices from Rockstar

Google is trying to protect its Nexus line and partners from the Apple- and Microsoft-backed Rockstar patent troll.
December 26, 2013
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Google is looking for an early victory against Rockstar, a patent troll company that’s suing several companies invested in the Android ecosystem.

Rockstar is a shell company created by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, and other companies that purchased the patent portfolio of the now-defunct Canadian carrier Nortel. The company doesn’t actually create anything, and simply employs engineers who look over products form other tech companies. Those engineers exist solely to see what companies the patent troll can sue for patent infringement.

Google filed a complaint in San Jose earlier this week asking the court to rule that it doesn’t infringe on seven of Rockstar’s patents. The company claims that Rockstar has “placed a cloud” over Android and the technology industry with its patent lawsuits. Google is specifically concerned about its Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and Nexus 10 devices, though it is also trying to protect its partners from the Rockstar lawsuits.

The complaint names Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE as other companies involved in the patent disputes.

Google might not have much luck in protecting its partners, though. According to GigaOm, the U.S. patent appeals court recently ruled that Cisco couldn’t sue to protect companies who bought its wireless routers from patent infringement. That precedent could work against any attempt by Google to sue Rockstar on behalf of its partners.

This isn’t Google’s only chance at stopping Rockstar, however. If the judge refuses to give Google an early victory, it will have plenty of other opportunities to fight against the Apple- and Microsoft-backed patent troll. It won’t result in quite the Apple vs. Google court case that some might want, though.

What do you think will come out of this? Will we see another big Google patent court case over Android, like the Oracle case? Do you want to see another big Android patent case?