Saturday, May 26, 2012

How Apple and Microsoft Armed 4,000 Patent Warheads


Rockstar is a special kind of company. Because it doesn’t actually make anything, it can’t be countersued in patent cases. That wouldn’t be the case with Apple or Microsoft if they had kept the patents for themselves. And because it’s independent, it can antagonize its owners’ partners and customers in ways that its owner companies could not.


When the Rockstar Bidco group purchased Nortel’s patents, the U.S. Department of Justice took a look at the deal, as part of a broader investigation into several large technology patent sales. The DoJ was concerned that patent attacks might somehow be used to knock Rockstar’s competitors out of the smartphone or tablet market. But in February, the DoJ closed its investigation, in part because Microsoft and Apple had promised to license many of their core wireless patents under reasonable terms to anyone who needed them.

But the new company — Rockstar Consortium — isn’t bound by the promises that its member companies made, according to Veschi. “We are separate,” he says. “That does not apply to us.”

Collecting patents defensively is understandable; forming a patent troll is evil.

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Holy cow! This only convinces me further of Siracusa's proposal:

[...] Joe Mullin has an update on last year’s Rockstar story: [...]

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