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Google agrees to settle with Microsoft-backed Rockstar

Patent-holding consortium Rockstar, which counts Microsoft, Apple, and BlackBerry among its members, has reached a settlement agreement with rival tech giant Google from a lawsuit originating last October. In its suit, Rockstar alleged that Google had infringed on seven search-related patents that it owned after winning a bid to acquire Nortel's intellectual property portfolio.

Reuters reported settlement of the lawsuit between Google and Microsoft-backed Rockstar:

Google and Rockstar have agreed to settle "all matters in controversy between the parties," according to a filing in an Texas federal court on Monday. However, the document does not say whether Rockstar has also settled with handset makers including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Source: Reuters

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. For news tips or to connect, please message him on the Signal messaging app at +1 (424) 666-7438. 

90 Comments
  • Every company should sue Google. They infringes the law every time.
  • They actually normally don't. They have their lawyers working at the borders of illegality, yes, but they don't cross the line. Most of the times.
  • Google crosses the line more than any company on planet Earth, and not just on patents. They are also the most anti-competitive company on the planet, scared to death of real competition. They're under investigation right now in the EU, and their settlement has already been rejected two or three times as being inadequate. The EU competition commissioner recently said Google will be far, far worse than Microsoft ever was and worse to deal with. They have killed more small companies than any company ever has due to their practices.
  • This, reminds me of a small company here near Florida, had some search engine technology patents. Managed to win some cash from google for patent infringement. Nice little win there.
  • And Google has enough cash in hand to shut the mouth...
  • That's why I said they have their lawyers working on the borders of illegality. The problem with what Google does is that they're REALLY good at crossing the line where there's no clear line. The European Commission is struggling and still fighting with Google precisely because of that. When Microsoft abused their dominant position, it was way too clear. They didn't really bothered to try and hide it. Google works much more in the grey lines. That's what makes them a nightmare for competition regulators.
  • You speak of this like its a good thing. Practices like that are the reason this country struggling financially. 
  • I'm interested in more of that
  • Facebook too
  • Google is one of the most evil companies that exists today. The way they used their might to supress any Google related products on Windows Phone is a clear example of their evil might. They need to be nipped in the bud
  • Does this mean Google apps or nah?
  • Nah bruh....i doubt that will happen...
  • What is rockstar
  • Microsoft, Apple and some other tech companies joined up to buy a bunch of old Nortel patents and then have them held under this Rockstar brand. Rockstar then is free to pursue those infringe on those patents without tying up resources from the companies that backed it and helps the optics of this sort of thing as well.
  • Thanks for you explanation.
  • Rockstar is one of the reasons that the patent system is broken in the U.S.
  • Oh, I disagree. A group of companies got together and collectively purchased the patents that might have ended up in the hands of someone who would truly slow innovation. Google had a chance to be a part, but unwisely chose to consider itself immune to the reach of the patents.
  • Nice
  • I agree with you that Google chose unwisely to not join the Rockstar Consortium. And I disagree with you that these patents didn't end up in someone's hands that would truly slow innovation. Rockstar Consortium's sole purpose is to reverse engineer successful products to determine if there has been patent infringement. If there was then they demand licensing fees or sue. For companies who didn't even develop those patents, but merely purchased them, helps innovation how? "Pretty much anybody out there is infringing,” says John Veschi, Rockstar’s CEO. “It would be hard for me to envision that there are high-tech companies out there that don’t use some of the patents in our portfolio.” http://www.wired.com/2012/05/rockstar/
  • It helps innovation by allowing a company to develope a patentable product or idea knowing that it will produce a profit for them.  If the product or idea can be copied without compensating the owners, then the products or ideas are much less likely to be developed. That would, in turn, hurt innovation.  Follow the money, find the innovation.
  • You said it yourself Groover, "by allowing a company to develop a patentable product or idea...". Please tell me one patentable product or idea that Rockstar Consortium has developed. The answer is none. I am not saying that patents should not exist. Patents do serve a purpose as you stated. I never said they didn't. What Rockstar Consortium and other entities like it are doing was not the intended purpose of patents however.
  • Totally wrong, dumb and stupid.  The patents that went into Rockstar were all that was left of Nortel after it fell on its face.  The patents were then auctioned off so that money earned from the patents could go to compensate the Nortel pension fund.  The money raised by the licensing of the patents - including the money raised from he auction - largely goes to paying the pensions of the people who invented these technologies in the first place. Nortel invented the search engine long before Google was even set up.  The fact that Google settled proves they knew they couldn't win.  GUILTY. 
  • At the time of the bankruptcy filing Nortel had $1 billion in cash. While the sale of the patents garnered $4.5 billion, the majority, the sale of other company assets raised $1.8 billion. I would call that a substantial amount of money. As for the pension, there are roughly 4,000 people costing $2,000,000 a month. Taking a 40 year average (I think I'm being extremely generous) that calculates to $960 million. That is far less than the $4.5 billion from the sale of the patents. As for the invention of the search engine, that was developed by Alan Emtage with the development of Archie. He did not bother to obtain patents at the time due to the Internet not being commercialized at the time and he was working to meet a need. Therefore the inventor of the first search engine has not seen a dime. I do agree with you that Google was using unlicensed patents, which is why they settled.
  • Google also dismantles and reverse engineer to try to discover infringements. Another biggy in this area is Intel.
  • I disagree that Rockstar would slow the innovation. See. In case of software patents, you can always go for a workaround rather than using the patents. Like If you innovate using NTFS, Microsoft owns those patents and you need to pay some royalty(or licensing fee) to Microsoft to use them. However, if you do not wish to pay that royalty, you can write your own file system that suits you. If you are innovating using some other guys' patents, you better license it from them. The claim Rockstar makes is that they are protecting the innovations done by the companies(in this case Nortell).
  • Pretty much anybody out there is infringing,” says John Veschi, Rockstar’s CEO. “It would be hard for me to envision that there are high-tech companies out there that don’t use some of the patents in our portfolio.” - http://www.wired.com/2012/05/rockstar/
  • so if someone is buying patens in order to sue others it is okay. if someone is buying patents together with microsoft and apple in order to sue someone it is not okay. makes sense. now i understand why the US patent system is so superior
  • Google buys patents too. But they lost many deal due to bidding stupid amounts like $3.14159265359 million (pi).
  • Bingo mad angles??
  • Me.
  • Wkwkwk
  • >Google agrees to settle with Microsoft...
    Me : oh god, oh god.... apps !!..... meh..
  • lol me too
  • Lol me too!
  • me three, hehe
  • Lol, everyone should sue Samsung for doing that. Google for their data mining. :3
  • Big bad Microsoft... I mean Google
  • When I read "Google agrees..." I was hoping we got official Google apps :P Lol, I should have known better though. I agree with the first comment though, everyone should sue Google. I'm sure they could find reasons.
  • I'd settle for Amazon Prime Video.
  • And I actually thought for a second the YouTube app was coming back. Ha. Silly me.
  • Boring. How about them agreeing to make a windows phone youtube app
  • I'm aware why its important to have the official stuff but. myTube (especially the beta) and Metrotube are the best of the best (maybe Tubecast in third place) of YouTube apps
  • Yep. This.
  • my free time starts from 7am to 11:30 pm and I watch YouTube videos all the time.. I tap on the pinned YouTube tile inside UCBrowser to watch all these videos. Tell me what do you need an app for ? And tell me how a google made YouTube app would differ from any of the existing apps in WP store.
  • Also true, bur you know how the average Joe n Jane gets over apps. Else windows phone would be at #1 already ;P
  • +1. I use MyTube
  • The Google app would have 30-second ads before every video, just like on the website.
  • So you are that guy that watches YouTube videos in the morning...
  • I wish Microsoft would refuse to license patents to Google until they made Windows Phone/Windows 8.1 apps.
  • Problem with that statement is us/euro competition laws are anticompetitive
  • That would be illegal under international commerce laws as Microsoft would be abusing their position. The Microsoft patents that Google uses are patents that are mandatory available for everyone for being considered "essential patents". Nokia and Motorola also have a bunch of those that they have to license whether they want it or not.   Microsoft tried that scheme and, at least the European Union, would fall hard on them. And rightly so. Same thing if Google did that (and the EU looooves to sue Google lol)
  • Ikr. Sue google till they go under :D
  • I know that's why I said "wish" but what MSFT could do is raise the royalties on certain patents and that would be within the confines of SEC/FTC regulations. Idk about the EU though. Google is so lucky it has smarter companies to copy, heck Android would be nothing without the Linux kernel... Google knows software about as well as Microsoft knows pottery.
  • LOL AT THIS! Google knows software as much as Microsoft knows pottery. I want that on a t-shirt. I call android a bigger mess than vista. Look how quickly it gets bogged down. I have over 20GB of apps on my Lumia 928 and it is still fast as hell. I see s4 and note 3 devices slower than my phone with barely more than stock apps opening and closing and resuming etc. (well I guess carrier bloat can slow things down).
  • "The Microsoft patents that Google uses are patents that are mandatory available for everyone for being considered "essential patents". " WRONG!  The patents for the search engine are commercial patents, not standards essential patents (SEPs).  There is no "standard" for search engines that require the licensing of patents.  And if they were SEPs Google would have to pay only a small FRAND fee.
  • Google uses more than just search patents. Android has a lot of things in it that are based on patents owned Microsoft.
  • When I first read the title I thought it was for the update of the YouTube app
  • I love everytime google kneels and force to pay for its transgression. Verizon employees should read every articles about google infringing on other properties so they learn that google is not free as they always said everytime one is at the store and they use that bs for which one should a android phone...Free to who is the big question. Once you have an android or google products one basically become a property of google as they sale everything of you to the best bidder.
  • Does this mean google will stop being baby's, and make apps for windows phone?
  • Can't say. Its Google.
  • No.
  • I don't think so, you know Google is a young and stupid company.
  • That's what HHammack1 meant by anti-competitive. They will do everything in their power to prevent Microsoft from gaining more users, which means they won't have their filthy apps on the Windows Store anytime soon, even if Windows 1000 arrives.
  • If google makes apps for windows, on one case we all might be happy and can grab large attention of the customers to buy windows as alternative as well. But, Google is Google, either they wont provide better services and app support of update of thing to us leaving out of dust or nesting people to gain the popularity for android. No doubt in that.
  • I don't understand why you guys think if Google supported Windows Phone that all of a sudden WP would be popular. It's MS fault for not pushing WP far enough to be better than Android, not Google. Google is just one app developer among the rest of the WP app creators. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Many users are tied to the Google ecosystem, which is present fully on Android and almost fully on iOS. Read some of Lumia "reviews", where those Joes blaming MS for the absence of Google Drive, Google Maps and everything's Google. But it's obvious who should be really blamed for that.
  • People want 'choice' which nadala realises that's why he's playing ball with everyone opening up APIs and sharing in exchange for apps
  • Google should be in jail long time ago
  • I'm mad they didn't lose to Oracle.
  • Can't think of a single Google app that I need.... So who cares about Google. I decided today to never search through Google again.. Going Bing baby!!
  • Bing search works better anyways :) I have a friend that is pro Google and he used my Android tablet and saw that I switched the search engine to Bing, and he had an out of body experience lol
  • You must be trolling. Google search is a million times better than Bing search
  • Bullshit google search is better.  It works, but better? You must be drunk on the koolade.
  • Youtube? Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • I prefer metrotrube. I have Sony Xperia Z tablet as well.
    it's obvious that it has genuine google youtube app and I hate that app like never before! metrotube is waaaaaay better.
  • Also google knew they violated those patents.  The company that owned them at the time did not have the money to fight google in court. Google is a company that works as hard try to invent "the new thing" as they do trying to skirt the laws. 
  • Google? Are you saying that NOW we'll see apps for windows phone?
  • Nope don't even think about it
  • GOD DANG YOU GOOGLE!
  • Cool story
  • I hope in part of Microsofts' settlement, Microsoft gets to build or re-release their Youtube app.
  • "in an Texas...". Slow down and read for typos.
  • It's a bad move considering the past of google. I don't trust that company EVER.
  • How about if Microsoft tries to make their services unavailable on android, do everything to make life difficult for google within their power and only ask for "Google apps" in return?
  • Why ask for Google apps? I think Microsoft is way better of building their own platform
  • Are you sure? Facebook app?
  • So sad Nortel and all the other Canadian tech innovators seem to be having a rough time
  • Who is this Google you talk about?  Surey not the same old Google who got their behinds well and truly kicked here in China and ran away squeeling like a stuck pig?
  • Google is a ghost..
  • The money from this settlement should somehow find its a way into a new Windows Phone flagship from Microsoft. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android