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.
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
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.
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