The number of lawsuits concerning mobile phone patents emerged in an endless stream. The onlookers said that â€œWe are tired, we are not surprisedâ€. However, this year, we seem to see some signs of improvement.
In May, after a settlement between Apple and Google, they repealed the lawsuit against each other;
In August, Apple and Samsung decided to terminate all patent litigations outside the United States, except for the California courts, which are still fighting with each other;
In November, with Rockstar, Google's main force, and Google reconciliation, we felt that the "second spring" of the patent circle finally came.
Apple camp: No lawsuit to sell patents
The protagonist of this cell phone patent event is Rockstar. First of all, it needs to be clear that it is not a game company we are familiar with developing Grand Theft Auto. The Rockstar Consortium is a patent consortium made up of technology giants such as Apple, Blackberry, Ericsson, Microsoft and Sony.
Rockstar itself does not develop any products. It usually attacks competitors through "patent loopholes." You can use it as a giant acquisition company NPE (Non-Practicing Entities). After a lawsuit litigated some time ago, Rockstar decided to sell more than 4,000 patents to the patent risk management company RPX for $900 million. (But it does not include more than 2,000 of the most valuable patents. The most valuable part has already been accepted by Rockstar's members.)
Then we need to popularize RPX, which was established in 2008. The company's operating philosophy is to help customers prevent patent litigation from other NPE companies. You can use RPX as a "defensive patent aggregation" company. Its main business is to buy a large number of patents. However, unlike NPE's methods, it is "outrageous." RPX will "sublease" these patents to technology companies and charge customers. At a certain fee, the other party can be authorized to use these patents and will not be sued by the patent hooligans or prostitutes. The customers who purchased RRPX patents are Cisco, Google and other technology giants.
This is relatively simple and straightforward. The Rockstar camp, which is dominated by Apple, now decides to sell its patents to RPX. Since then Google and other giants can also use the "patent fees" and other forms of safe and reasonable use of these patents, eliminating the trouble of eating lawsuits.
The origin of the incident: Rockstar buys Nortelâ€™s patent for 4.5 billion yuan
The patent that was sold to RPX this time was a part of the patent assets of Rockstar, which was bought by Nortel Networks, a Canadian telecommunication equipment manufacturer, who had bankruptcy for $4.5 billion in 2011. After that, it began a long journey of litigation against competitors.
In October 2013, Rockstar sued his opponent for infringing his own patents. In addition to familiar Google, Rockstar sued his opponent for infringing his own patents. There are various Android device manufacturers such as Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG, and Korean Pan. Thai, Samsung, ZTE...
It is interesting to note that Huawei in the Android alliance has chosen to launch halfway through the court and submitted an application for cancellation of the lawsuit to the court and settled the matter with unclear amounts. Since then, Huawei has been able to enjoy Rockstar's patents (including UI and network technology) without worrying about being accused by Rockstar.
However, as the big brother of the Android camp, Google of course chose not to be outdone of the Cisco alliance. In December 2013, it launched a counterattack and accused Rockstar of threatening Googleâ€™s business and endangering Googleâ€™s relationship with customers and partners.
On November 12th this year, Rockstar reached a settlement agreement with Google and Cisco, agreeing to the patent cross-licensing between the two parties, saying that all the controversial issues had been settled, but the details of the specific financial compensation that everyone was concerned about were not disclosed. What can be revealed is that Cisco stated to its investors that the pre-tax cost of resolving a legal dispute with Rockstar was US$188 million.
From the settlement of Rockstar with Google in November to the purchase of patents by RPX today, it can indeed be seen that the mobile patent warfare is declining. After all, it wasnâ€™t as costly as a lawsuit. It was inferior to the â€œdefensive patent aggregationâ€ company of RPX that â€œpays the protection fee on timeâ€ and obtained the right to use the patent. "Defense" is the main theme, rather than choosing to fight "You die."
As Microsoft stated in an official statement, "This Rockstar initiative will allow companies in the entire industry to have access to Nortel's patents and guide the industry toward a more positive and equitable development.
However, the lawsuit that had been fought for so long ago is only now being said. It is estimated that both parties are not aware of it.
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