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Google Sues Consortium Backed By Apple and Microsoft to Protect Android

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the tis-the-season dept.

Android 150

A couple months ago, Rockstar, a patent-holding consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry, and others launched a barrage of infringement suits against Google and the makers of Android devices. Google has now launched a counteroffensive, seeking protection from Rockstar's patent trolling. The complaint (PDF) says, "Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation." Google's filing also accuses Rockstar of interfering with their business practices by contacting other companies and trying to convince them not to use Android. It asks for a declarative judgment of non-infringement.

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About time. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781577)

They should have started sooner.

Re:About time. (5, Informative)

gnupun (752725) | about 10 months ago | (#45781613)

They didn't have anti-patent troll legislation that was passed recently. Let's see how that law works in Google's favor.

Re:About time. (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45781713)

I care less about how it works in Google's favor, than I care about how it works in OUR FAVOR! In this case, I believe that Google's interest coincides with the "consumer's" interest. Anything to kill patent trolls sounds good to me. I'm aware, however, that the best of laws have those pesky unintended consequences.

We, the end users, are already paying for illegitimate licensing over a broad spectrum of goods. It's unlikely that killing off patent trolls will do very much to end existing licenses. But, if we can see the beginning of the end of those bastard patent trolls, eventually the market price of consumer goods will start to go down.

I actually do still favor Google, in general, but some of their practices aren't all that non-evil. I can't cheer the anti-troll legislation just because it seems to favor Google. I support that legislation for the sake of all of us, who aren't even players in the patent game. Ultimately, WE PAY for that nonsense.

Re:About time. (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#45781725)

That's the same reason I find myself being a fan of Google in other areas as well. They still seem to believe in open protocols and formats (although waning a bit recently), where others are trying to tie customers to their proprietary services.

Re: About time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781747)

Maybe they should open up GoogleAPI.jar or whatever it's called.

Re: About time. (-1, Troll)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 10 months ago | (#45782369)

goog loves naive people to use their service so they can slurp up more info than NSA. inb4 everybody else is the same: bing is better because goog has both adsense and double-click, which lets them track people across the entire internet. bing has less capability to track people outside of their site.

Re: About time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782453)

Really? All the big companies are doing it.

Most of these big companies have some (and in one case, all unless you jailbreak) your app installation history. Undoubtedly the default browser sends your keystrokes while you type in the address / search bar for autocomplete suggestions. Several, on the guise of "wifi based gps" constantly sends your location back to head office (practically all mobile platforms).

Those other companies don't need adsense and double-click, because the basic OS rapes your privacy already.

Re:About time. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782419)

They still seem to believe in open protocols and formats

Which alternate universe are you in buddy?

Google search - Closed Source/ proprietary
Google Plus - Closed Source/ proprietary
Adsense/Adwords - Closed Source/ proprietary
Youtube - Closed Source/ proprietary
Maps - Closed Source/ proprietary
Gmail - Closed Source/ proprietary

where others are trying to tie customers to their proprietary services.

Is this the reason I am forced to create a google plus social media profile just to have accounts on youtube, gmail, etc ?

Oh but google is nice and wants to help you. OK Lets look at their terms of service.

By using our Services, you are agreeing to these terms. Please read them carefully.

Wow.. I am surely going to read these carefully since I was presented these the first time I searched something on google.com. Oh, wait.. no .. I wasnt. How can you agree with something that was never even shown to you? Only in Google's universe.

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

Um.. yeah, google, go ahead and "communicate" "distribute" and "publicly display" my email. As long as its in the narrow definition of "operating" "promoting" or "improving" their service. A definition which they control - obviously.

Re:About time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782973)

That's the same reason I find myself being a fan of Google in other areas as well. They still seem to believe in open protocols and formats (although waning a bit recently), where others are trying to tie customers to their proprietary services.

Google is open so long as it suits their business.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-android-controlling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/

Re: About time. (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 10 months ago | (#45783315)

Google is the worse for tying customers to their services. Sign up for email and suddenly I'm getting flooded with google+ garbage I never wanted or asked for and there's no way to disable or opt-out. And now they want to put our real names on every youtube comment we ever made? Talk about invasion of privacy, and people thought apple was bad for having a walled garden of apps. Anything that stops google sounds good to me.

Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (3, Insightful)

cjjjer (530715) | about 10 months ago | (#45781727)

I believe that Google's interest coincides with the "consumer's" interest.

As long as you hand over all of your personal data to them sure of course they will side with the the *consumer*.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781779)

Sad tired troll. Why don't you go back to your desk in Redmond and do some real work.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45781797)

You see, GP as a troll. I see him as a realist. Google's product is not software, but data. That data consists of your information, and mine. Please see my reply to GP.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782471)

Except Google is pretty open about what they do. All the other big companies take the same information (if not more, since credit cards require your address and real name - none of which you must give Google), but hide it away so users turn a blind eye to it.

In particular, see i Ads.

You see realist, I see whiney. Just install one of the many ad blockers (Ghostery, AdBlock) and you're safer in two seconds.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782503)

It's not your data which interest Google, it is knowing you.

But even then, Google is not that bad compared to other companies, so I don't understand your outrage. To me, it certainly look more like mass hysteria against one company than rational thinking. For example, Steam is a lot worse and yet no one complain about them. Why?

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782571)

Because I don't want google tracking me, it really doesn't matter why.

For the record, I have an android phone but don't have any google accounts, nor do I use any google services, including search.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782011)

Desk? Redmond? Nah. I here Waggoner Edstrom has a very nice work from your parents basement program.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45781783)

Do you block Google Analytics, and all their ad servers? Do you block tracking? I'm willing to allow Google some limited data, and I block the rest. So, no, I don't hand over all my personal data. Further, I encourage others (techies and non-techies alike) to block Google's tracking. I don't believe anyone can block it all, but neither do I believe that Google is going to waste time, money, or effort trying to track people who don't cooperate.

Re: Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781821)

So you're using their services, yet you refuse to "pay" for them. Just use some other service if you really want to make a stand.

Re: Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45782379)

I would rather reverse the "master - slave" relationship. I use Google, but don't permit Google to use me, except under my own terms and conditions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoQBVgNtdqE [youtube.com]

Re: Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782519)

Then you just buy Google. If you don't have enough money for that, maybe it's time for you to realize and accept that being the "master" is not your place.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (2)

swillden (191260) | about 10 months ago | (#45782285)

I assume by "blocking" their servers you're talking about DNS or firewall-level blocking. That's hit and miss, since it depends on you keeping up with all of the right domains/IPs. A better solution (which can be applied in addition to DNS/firewall blocking; it needn't be "instead of") is to use the opt outs that Google provides. See http://google.com/privacy/tools [google.com] .

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45782341)

There are scripts to help a person with "keeping up".

http://lifehacker.com/5060053/set-up-universal-ad-blocking-through-your-router [lifehacker.com]

That certainly isn't the end-all be-all, but it does remove a lot of work. Opt outs help. Adblock Plus and other browser scripts help, Ghostery among them. But, you are right, in that you have to take personal responsibility for your own security. Security is a process, not a product.

Re:Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (3, Interesting)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#45781833)

Nobody is a saint in the corporate world, but not all corporations are equally rotten either. In comparison to most Google is still the better guy, and in this specific fight it is in most people's best interest for it to prevail.

Re: Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782407)

Wrong. They just have the better PR and a lot a geeks on their side due to the lure of some open source snibbits. But at their core they are not better. All for many people believe their bs slogan. Which is sad. Their primary goal is to make profits. Nothing else.

Re: Seriously you still believe *Do no Evil*? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#45782871)

Sure they are. Personally I do not believe their slogan as all corporations have their skeleton in their closets, but their policies are by far better for the users than Apple's or Microsoft, for example.

Oh, and all business, be they small or large, have as their primary goal to make money, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Re:About time. (1)

greenbird (859670) | about 10 months ago | (#45782241)

I'm aware, however, that the best of laws have those pesky unintended consequences.

This, my friend, is the crux of the issue. We have some bad laws (patent laws in this case). We know we have some bad laws. How do we fix it? By passing more laws. Yeah, that should work out well.

Our government has risen to such a level of idiocy it's almost beyond comprehension. I keep having flashbacks to "Idiocracy". It's rather terrifying that that movie may become socially relevant in my lifetime.

And that's not even the scary part. Those idiots are the ones in charge of every morsel of data they're now collecting on everyone and the militarized police forces to enforce their Idiocracy should anyone actually have the temerity to tenaciously protest it.

Re:About time. (1)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 10 months ago | (#45782349)

It's already happening I'm afraid.

There are universities in my country offering degrees in Surfing (waves, not the internet) and The Beatles.

It's the end of civilisation as we know it.

Additionally, Ayn Rand is offering no useful solutions. It is in fact people with a very similar philosophy to objectivism who have dropped us right in it now.

Arbitrage? (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 10 months ago | (#45782367)

I dislike patent trolls. But I cringe everytime someone says someone is a troll just because they don't make the product associated with their patent. I've patented invention (in laser physics). I don't make lasers or detectors for commerical purposes. I make inventions and then sell the inventions. I don't think that makes me a patent troll. Furthermore if sell my invention I might well sell it to someone who plans to make their money by selling licenses to the invention rather than making it. I'm glad they exist. Because it makes it easier to sell the patent, it means there's less risk to the inventor and thus more reason to invent. Conversely that company is making their money by arbitraging. While I might have sold it for more had I the resources to connect with buyers, there's risk to me, because it might flop. To them, by buying lots of inventors patents, some flop, some are worth far more than they paid. On average, by holding lots of patents, they make money by arbitraging the risk I want to avoid.

SO it's better for everyone. more inventions, more of those inventions finding practical use because they are commericially available.

SO what's a patent troll versus a legitimate arbitrager? Perhaps its deliberately collecting dubious patents and then suing people who probably developed the technology on their own as an extension of their legitimate manufacturing? It's a fine line. Some things are truly obvious in hindsight but these are not always obvious is foresight. What makes this hard is that Many times patents are not collected on till a long time after their invention. This makes them seem more obvious in later times than they were at the time of their invention.

The things I invented were really almost impossible to do at the time, but 7 years later with newer technology they were easy to do. When they became easy to do, lots of people did it and sold products. When I informed them of my invention, they said, oh come on thats so obvious. And indeed it was, now, but defintitely not at the time. I know this because for example one of them allowed a laster to tune 1000 times faster than any other laser at the time was able to. It's quite apparent everyone would have invented that if they could have since it's so desirable. But 7 years later it seemed so easy to do.

Thus it would not have been unreasonable for me to have sold that patent to an arbitrager and get my money up front. they can wake 7 years for the industry to start using the idea, then assert their rights and make cash. this is a good thing.

Re:Arbitrage? (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 10 months ago | (#45782819)

The things I invented were really almost impossible to do at the time, but 7 years later with newer technology they were easy to do.

Then your invention was worthless; it was unpracticable until it would have been obvious anyway. It's relatively easy to blue-sky a bunch of things you could do if some enabling technology were available, but in fact cannot do.

Re:Arbitrage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782895)

Wow, that's breathtakingly ignorant! You should patent your method or apparatus for delivering uneducated forcefully embarrassing opinions with such blissful unawareness.

Re:Arbitrage? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 10 months ago | (#45783047)

The things I invented were really almost impossible to do at the time, but 7 years later with newer technology they were easy to do.

Then your invention was worthless; it was unpracticable until it would have been obvious anyway. It's relatively easy to blue-sky a bunch of things you could do if some enabling technology were available, but in fact cannot do.

So I take it you only try to do things that are easy to do? Such a legacy you will leave this planet.

Mod Up parent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45783015)

Parent defies the slashdot CW and makes sense.

Re:About time. (1)

SlaveToTheGrind (546262) | about 10 months ago | (#45782473)

I believe that Google's interest coincides with the "consumer's" interest. Anything to kill patent trolls sounds good to me. . . .

Sadly, this is the same short-term "something must be done to keep us all safe" mindset that got us the Patriot Act and other similar founts of long-term regret.

As to Google's interest coinciding with yours, you're only looking at half the picture. Google asserts its own patents against others. Thus, at the end of the day, Google (like many large corporations) is most likely in favor of legislation that will preserve its ability to do so, while reducing the little guys' ability to asserts their patents against Google (and, to some degree, reducing the little guys' ability to get patents in the first place). Including little guys like you and me.

I'm aware, however, that the best of laws have those pesky unintended consequences.

Well said. Yet another reason to take a deep breath and understand how difficult it really is to legislate principled distinctions between a patent troll and a garage inventor, and to make sure we don't neuter the latter in our zeal to "just do something" about the former.

Re:About time. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 10 months ago | (#45781741)

They didn't have anti-patent troll legislation that was passed recently.

I'm pretty sure that legislation is still in the Senate. See also this [youtube.com] .

Oh how I wish (5, Insightful)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 10 months ago | (#45781585)

Oh how I wish PJ was around for this... she'd be all over it.

Re:Oh how I wish (4, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 10 months ago | (#45782073)

I sooo miss Groklaw. There's so many things happening I want the better view of it instead of the usual Florian copy/paste hack job.

Re:Oh how I wish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782423)

You know your life sucks when you miss the bloggings of a paid IBM shill. Don't worry, I'm sure she's chilling somewhere with Satoshi Nakamoto.

Re:Oh how I wish (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782811)

Perhaps she retired because she was afraid of being exposed as a shill after she learnt metadata and emails were being collected. Certainly felt odd that she ragequit her extremely one sided coverage instead of using PGP.

Re:Oh how I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45783273)

And perhaps you're just an idiot? Silly me, of course you are.

Re:Oh how I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45783265)

You know you're ready for suicide when you become a low life Microsoft shill.

Two prong attack (3, Insightful)

HellCatF6 (1824178) | about 10 months ago | (#45781595)

They should have started sooner, AND
They need to put the full-press on congress to improve the patent process. Patents mean almost nothing today. The office is overwhelmed, and it's up to patent courts to try and sort through the mess.

Re:Two prong attack (1)

greenbird (859670) | about 10 months ago | (#45782269)

They need to put the full-press on congress to improve the patent process.

Rollback, my friend. Please say 'rollback' rather than improve. If they try to improve they'll only make it worse. They'll improve in a manner befitting to the interest they're beholden to rather than in a manner that's beneficial to the people and the economy.

Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (4, Interesting)

blippo (158203) | about 10 months ago | (#45781651)

Can someone enlightened explain why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple against Google - Sony's only hope for their mobile and tablets division?

Is it the media and games departments that are fighting a war against their own company?

As soon as I think that Sony might be doing something right, they shove their heads up their arse again.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45781745)

"As soon as I think that Sony might be doing something right, they shove their heads up their arse again."

Lack of oxygen, mostly. There's a lot of methane in the posterior orifice, and little oxygen.

TBH, I cannot understand the thinking of the idiots who graduate to become corporate executives. Theoretically, they joined the consortium to save money. Being a member of the consortium, the other actors aren't going to go after them to extract licensing fees. Android, for instance, has been reported to have "earned" a couple billion dollars for Microsoft already. And, of course, Microsoft is ethically entitled to NONE of that money. Or, if they are actually, truthfully, entitled to any of it, they should have presented their case in court somewhere to demonstrate exactly what they should be entitled to.

I'm sick of the status quo. Microsoft implies that a product may infringe upon one of more patents, but never does state exactly which patent, or how the infringement might be taking place. That doesn't exactly fit the modus of most patent trolls, but it's close enough for my purposes.

Nook (2)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#45782047)

Or, if they are actually, truthfully, entitled to any of it, they should have presented their case in court somewhere to demonstrate exactly what they should be entitled to.

Microsoft was prepared to do just that to Barnes and Noble before Barnes and Noble decided to settle.

Re:Nook (3, Informative)

andydread (758754) | about 10 months ago | (#45782763)

B&N did not settle. They countersued and exposed the patetents Microsoft were threatening them with. Then Microsoft payed B&N millions of dollars to go away.

Re:Nook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45783297)

LOL, no. Microsoft was too scared of having their worthless patents challenged in a court of law so they dropped it and paid Millions to B&N to setup a partnership that eventually fizzled.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781749)

Can someone enlightened explain why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple against Google - Sony's only hope for their mobile and tablets division?

Because in the gaming industry the proprietary content is tightly controlled. Playstation and Xbox are perfectly identical dreams come true for those two corporations. They want to extend that to mobile platforms too, but don't have any realistic chances with Android in action.
And let's not forget the most basic reason, they're for-profit companies and this IS part of their business model, while for Google, working within an open-source environment is theirs.

Re: Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782441)

Bullshit of epic and sad proportions. Google is a for profit company like any other one. They are not saints.

Waiting to be down modded by gSheeps and AndroidCultists.

Re: Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (2)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 10 months ago | (#45782525)

Google is a for profit company like any other one.

This is what's sad... that we're down to saying that a for-profit company is necessarily like any other. Companies are run by *people*, and those people can choose what they do. A corporation does not always have to act in an immoral way in favour of profit.

They are not saints, you're right, but they have been acting consistently in a better way than their contemporaries are.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781785)

That is why confuses the shit out of me with this.

I mean sure, Sony and Microsoft compete on the gaming front* but also agree on other areas of business, but this is both attacking and supporting the SAME industry, that makes zero sense.

* which is hilarious since a family member was complaining about his XboxOne install taking forever just a few hours ago and said, after I told him about the several hour wait for his game to download, "Playstation never done this, I'm returning this crap."
He waited for an hour before giving up entirely.
How the HELL did Microsoft manage to screw up the reasonably simple and decent 360 install system?
Even Sony learned from the PS3 installation system and streamlined the hell out of it, even allowing background installs so you can still play and update when you need to.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (1)

InPursuitOfTruth (2676955) | about 10 months ago | (#45781793)

Why do two theives work together on a heist? Sony, plain and simple, has pushed patented solutions where they have a licensing interest over open ones that are not patent encumbered for as long as I can remember, such as MPEG over VP9.

Considering that Sony doesn't have much hope in phones and tablets with Android, and their hardware interests go far beyond that into things like camcorders and blu ray players, taking down Android would return us to a world of large patent licensing fees in products.

It's too bad because if Sony ever supported the better codecs and containers, such as MKV, H264 and VP9, then their devices would be highly competitve.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#45782131)

Why do two theives work together on a heist?

Money. Always follow the money.

Vita Phone (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#45782067)

Can someone enlightened explain why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple against Google - Sony's only hope for their mobile and tablets division?

Because Google isn't Sony's only hope. Sony Mobile could just switch from Android to a version of the PlayStation Vita operating system with cellular voice support. Now that Sony is opening up to indie developers, reportedly almost as wide as Apple's App Store, Sony might just be able to pull that off. Perhaps the only reason why Sony hasn't already done this is Time Warner's trademark on Vita Phone [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Vita Phone (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#45782195)

"Help us Google, you're our only hope?"

No, that just doesn't sound right for some reason.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782069)

Video patents and gaming, perhaps? Sony has a significant interest in H.264, and an existing line of portable consoles with the PSP & Vita.

Android phones are getting powerful enough now to erode the market for the latter, and Google's insistence on developing and publishing its own codecs like VP8 has the potential to undermine demand for the former.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (3, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about 10 months ago | (#45782189)

Sony has been schizophrenic ever since they bought Columbia/CBS Records. Before then they were pro-technology, anti-strict IP. Sony was the defendant in the infamous Betamax case [wikipedia.org] , where the TV/movie companies tried to argue we could only watch TV live, and shouldn't be able to use VCRs to time-shift broadcasts.

Re:Why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple (2)

andydread (758754) | about 10 months ago | (#45782769)

THIS!!! exactly this. Sony used to be a pro-technology company until they got into the content business and now have become one of the biggest assholes. I went from owning exlusively Sony products to running far far away from anything Sony because of their behavior once they got into the content business. Will not purchase or reccomend Sony products until they leave that business. They are one of the MPAA and RIAA biggest members.

And their name is "Rockstar" (0)

Fear the Clam (230933) | about 10 months ago | (#45781653)

So fuck them with a rusty shovel.

Re:And their name is "Rockstar" (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 10 months ago | (#45782025)

Oh, the makers of Grand Theft Auto!

Sony ? (1)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | about 10 months ago | (#45781655)

Ever heard of Sony Xperia phones ?

Re:Sony ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781669)

Perhaps Sony is planning to offer phone capabilities on the Vita.

Why did Google tried to buy them? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781667)

In 2011, Google lost an expensive bidding war for a group of Nortel Networks patents to a handful of technology giants including Apple and Microsoft that paid $4.5 billion. Two years later, a consortium jointly owned by those companies is suing Google for patent infringement.
http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/11/01/google-sued-by-patent-firm-owned-by-apple-microsoft/

So they tried to buy a company that "produces no products and practices no patents."
They must be glad they dodged that.

Huh? (3, Informative)

cjjjer (530715) | about 10 months ago | (#45781719)

So they tried to buy a company that "produces no products and practices no patents."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nortel_products [wikipedia.org]

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782221)

It's MS so the slashdot haters will come out of the woodwork to circle jerk about the great and altruistic google.

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 10 months ago | (#45782233)

I'm of the opinion that this is "too bad so sad" for Google, they had their opportunity to bid for the patents but didn't want to shell out for them. The billions of dollars in proceeds generated from that bid allowed my father to recoup some of his pension that he lost when Nortel collapsed. They didn't buy Nortel as a whole, they just purchased some of the IP that was auctioned off.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782817)

That milk your father was sucking on was poisoned the moment Elop rammed MSFTs rod up Nokias rectum. If he didn't disengage at that point then he is an idiot.

Re:Why did Google tried to buy them? (4, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#45781743)

The company that bought the patents was formed just to buy the patents. The theory was that Google bought the patents because they knew they'd be used against them. Check Google's record on patent use, To my knowledge, they haven't used them aggressively, although Motorola had suits in progress before they bought them. The really nasty part about Rockstar is that they promised they wouldn't use the patents for this purpose, and then did.

Re:Why did Google tried to buy them? (1)

fostware (551290) | about 10 months ago | (#45782091)

No. The backing companies promised not to use the patents this way, and then washed their hands when Rockstar said "well we didn't promise anything..."

They're a corporate hitman, giving the backers plausible deniability and no surface area to countersue (since they can't infringe anyone else's patents when they don't make stuff)

Re:Why did Google tried to buy them? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#45783043)

I'm hoping a judge does not allow this shallow deceit and fines them into the ground.

Re:Why did Google tried to buy them? (3, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45781771)

Sorry, your reading comprehension seems to be suffering. Google bid on the patents. Google never made any effort to purchase the company, Rockstar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockstar_Consortium [wikipedia.org]

You will note that Rockstar was formed by the members of the consortium for the purpose of patent enforcement. It appears to me that this enforcement has devolved into patent trolling.

Re:Why did Google tried to buy them? (1, Informative)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 10 months ago | (#45781811)

No. Google didn't try to buy Rockstar, which is the consortium that produces no products and practices no patents.

Nortel produced a lot of produts. Google bid on some of Nortel's patents after they went bankrupt. Rockstar is the consortium that outbid Google and bought those patents.

Selective Memory... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781701)

For a quick history lesson, "Rockstar" was a consortium created specifically to purchase the Nortel patent portfolio. Google was invited to join this group, but declined. Furthermore, Rockstar wasn't the first company to make a bid for these patents. That honor goes to Google, themselves, who ultimately bid as much as $4.4 billion.

So, instead of having a single company (Google) having control of a huge list of patents themselves we got Rockstar -- a company created specifically to share the patents among other big players so no one entity has control over it all.

How this is construed as Google trying to protect Android is simply beyond me. If Google didn't see value in the patents they wouldn't have bid $4 billion dollars to get them. If Google was worried about protecting Android they would have joined Rockstar in the first place. Google made a serious strategic mistake and is now pursuing a legal course of action to try and rectify it.

Re:Selective Memory... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781979)

Let me invite you to join my protection racket. You're fooling yourself if you think this company was intended to share anything but patent trolling money. The "invitation" did not protect Android OEMs from that (now confirmed) patent trolling.

Strategic mistake? Go fuck yourself. Google should be suing for collusion.

Merry Christmas.

Re: Selective Memory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782105)

unless I am mistaken Google has only ever used patents defensively. it isn't much of a stretch to see that they were bidding for these patents specifically to defend android and that apple and Microsoft were doing so specifically to go after android. I find it hilarious to see how people twist the truth to push their anti Google agenda and I don't even like Google, since they are becoming a privacy destroyed.

Re: Selective Memory... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782405)

You would be mistaken. Even as recently as September of this year, Google asked a judge to re-open a patent case against Apple -- a case that was previously dropped by the judge due to a "lack of evidence" from both parties. It's also worth noting that Google was asking Apple to now pay 12 times what they were previously paying to license the patents (the previous agreement being made between Motorola and Apple, before Google bought Motorola).

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/googles-motorola-mobility-sues-to-reopen-apple-mobile-patent-lawsuit-417692

Re:Selective Memory... (4, Interesting)

fostware (551290) | about 10 months ago | (#45782107)

Google was invited to join this group, but declined.

I promised I would never do this but.... citation please.

I'm not willing to believe it unless you have a source that doesn't reference the same unattributed quote I found in three different news articles...

Re:Selective Memory... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782243)

Look shit up yourself you lazy fuck. No one is here to be your researcher because you're obviously too ignorant or lazy to do it yourself.

Re:Selective Memory... (5, Informative)

SlaveToTheGrind (546262) | about 10 months ago | (#45782665)

People appear to be conflating two different consortiums that purchased two different patent portfolios.

Rockstar [wikipedia.org] bought the Nortel patent portfolio. CPTN Holdings [wikipedia.org] bought the Novell patent portfolio. Google was invited [twitter.com] to join CPTN, not Rockstar.

Confirmed by Google here [blogspot.com] .

Re: Selective Memory... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782247)

Apple owns 58% of Rockstar. They effectively have sole control.

Re:Selective Memory... (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 10 months ago | (#45782551)

Google was invited to join this group, but declined.

Of course... what would it have got them? It would have given Google themselves protection, while leaving the manufacturers using Android (and who Google need) out in the cold and vulnerable. Google being part of that racket would have helped Android not a bit, they either needed to control all of them and use them to protect their partners, or not be involved at all.

Re:Selective Memory... (1)

SlaveToTheGrind (546262) | about 10 months ago | (#45782697)

Your "quick history lesson" appears to uncritically regurgitate a meme that, so far as I can tell, has no support.

Rockstar [wikipedia.org] bought the Nortel patent portfolio. CPTN Holdings [wikipedia.org] bought the Novell patent portfolio. Google was invited [twitter.com] to join CPTN, not Rockstar.

Confirmed by Google here [blogspot.com] .

Is this really patent trolling? (2)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 10 months ago | (#45781717)

The shell company that holds the patents itself produces no products, but Apple and Microsoft certainly doâ"it's just that they hold the patents jointly through this 'Rockstar' entity.

If this weird patent system is still what we have in place, this sort of joint ownership should be allowed. Leaving aside the relevance and desirability of the patent system today, I can't really see a problem with this. It's not really the same as a company that's never been associated with any endeavour related to the patents they own and who exist only to bilk money out of other people.

Re:Is this really patent trolling? (5, Insightful)

InPursuitOfTruth (2676955) | about 10 months ago | (#45781837)

But the companies themselves are not suing Google themselves, and are not claiming that Google infringes any of their products. In fact, these patents could apply to things for which no product exists, or could be so general, that nearly all products in that category use them. Unless you are claiming that another company is hurting your sales, you are a patent troll. Rockstar has no product sales and will not bring up the sales of its shareholders in court.

Either way, they are trying to dodge accountabilty by using a shell company to sue. Besides hiding, they limit their own liability should Google prevail. Rockstar is clearly setup with one purpose -- to sue with impunity.

Re:Is this really patent trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782361)

Can you explain then how multiple companies should jointly own and enforce patents?

AFAIK you can't assign ownership of a patent "60% to Corp A, 30% to Corp B, and 10% to Corp C" - so Corp X is created to own the patent, and Corps A-C can have shared stake in X.

That also means only Corp X can sue for infringement, because Corp X is the owner. That doesn't magically make it a patent troll just because it doesn't produce related products directly; it is representing the interests of its owners, who DO.

Re:Is this really patent trolling? (1)

c (8461) | about 10 months ago | (#45781957)

The shell company that holds the patents itself produces no products, but Apple and Microsoft certainly doÃ"it's just that they hold the patents jointly through this 'Rockstar' entity.

None of the patents held by Rockstar were invented by Microsoft or Apple and none of the parts of Nortel that actually built products based on the patents were purchased by Rockstar, Microsoft, nor Apple.

That's pretty much the essence of a patent troll. That the owners might do some of their own stuff doesn't really change anything.

Re:Is this really patent trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45783279)

This is where patents move from being related to creating something and sharing knowledge for the benefit of the general public and instead become a next-tier legal instrument used to bully or bludgeon competition. It has some similarities to derivatives or packaged mortgage securities, in that you can think of legitimate uses for them related to the purpose of the original subject/purpose -- i.e., spurring inventions and sharing of knowledge, creating/supporting companies, helping worthy candidates purchase a home -- but their popularity is due to their ability to be used in ways that generally tend to be completely detached from, if not counter to, the original purpose.

Nthing like good ole 'Merican competition (2)

adewolf (524919) | about 10 months ago | (#45781723)

...through litigation. These so called "consortiums" are clearly anti-competitive, while I have no love of any of these companies (Google is just as bad as the rest of them), they should be illegal, as described.

Re:Nthing like good ole 'Merican competition (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781759)

The comment subject is not the fucking start of my first sentence field. It is not the Gigantic Illuminated Letter scribed by monks at the start of your slashdot manuscript.

Stop this fuckwittery, it detracts from your otherwise cogent statements.

Mod AC parent up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781799)

... to +5 informative, pls. HTH, HAND

Related fun piece of news. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781737)

Apparently, Rockstar is now selling most of the patents they bought from Nortel for these lawsuits [cnet.com] .

It was a scummy business all along. It went like:
Apple and MS: *buying up Nortel's patents*
US DoJ: *stares at them intently*
Apple and MS: "We promise to fairly license these patents to anyone!"
US DoJ: *nods, turns away*
Apple and MS: *passing patents to Rockstar quietly*
Rockstar: "Ha! We're neither MS nor Apple and didn't promise shit, suckers!"

Trying to convince them not to use Android. (1, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 months ago | (#45781777)

How is this illegal? It may be a PITA and uncool, but *every* business tries to convince you to not use their competitors products.

If this flies, what is next, fan boys cant speak either?

Unless there is true fraud involved ( pay-offs, lying, coercion, etc ) every company should have the right to win customers

Re:Trying to convince them not to use Android. (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45781831)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt [wikipedia.org]

Manipulating the market is unethical, especially when that manipulation includes dishonesty.

IMHO, it's perfectly alright to tout the strengths and benefits of your own products. It's not alright to spread rumors that the competition's product is inferior, substandard, or whatever. In the case of Microsoft, they have historically stooped to some pretty low levels in their attempts to destroy competitor's good names. Some of that crap SHOULD be illegal.

Re:Trying to convince them not to use Android. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781843)

Winning customers is not the issue...

Rockstar doesn't have anything to sell... instead, they just threaten to sue.

and that comes under coercion.

Re:Trying to convince them not to use Android. (1)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#45782317)

Possibly a case of restraint of trade [wikipedia.org] . The actual details would be in various countries anti-competition statutes.

Re:Trying to convince them not to use Android. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45781855)

There is a difference between "convincing to use my product" and "convincing not to use their product", don't you think?

Especially when "convincing" likely involves "... because we've got this here patents and you wouldn't want them turned on you, right?"

Such a nice way to sum up Patent trolls (3, Insightful)

BroadbandBradley (237267) | about 10 months ago | (#45782333)

"Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation." this statement sums up nicely how patent trolls are a stain on our modern patent laws and actually hinder innovations rather than promote innovation as patents are supposed to do.

If you don't make a product using your patent, you really shouldn't have the right to tell others not to. To have an idea is one thing, but to actually bring it to market is something else entirely. To have an idea that could enhance the lives of everyone but do nothing but sit on it is counterproductive to the advancement of society as a whole. One good idea pompts many more good ideas, if all these patent trolls had actually been producing products instead we'd be much further ahead in terms of product innovations. Just in user interface design alone, there's stupid patents like "pinch zoom" for touch screens, How many other concepts never hit the market because of royalty fees or patent lawsuits?

It boils down to the basic idea that information wants to be free, anything else is an un-natural restriction on the life force of the universe!

end the trolls (1)

mfh (56) | about 10 months ago | (#45782467)

Fix the system. Before a company can claim patent protection, the patent must be in use in a directly conflicting way. 99% if current patent claims would not survive this test. Rockstar makes nothing and operates as a privateer. Shut that down.

Where's the FTC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45782877)

It is pretty outrageous that some companies can team together to form an entity to collect patents and sue their competition with impunity.

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