The Rockstar Consortium, made up of Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, BlackBerry and other big names in tech, has agreed to sell more than 4,000 patents to patent clearing house RPX for $900 million.
The group bought 6,000 patents from bankrupt Nortel in 2011 for a cool $4.5 billion, outbidding Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and using its new intellectual property to take on the Android maker in court over alleged infringements. By selling them to RPX Corp. , Rockstar has also agreed to drop any of its remaining court battles. (See Rockstar Patent Holders Sue Google & Friends and DoJ OK's $4.5B Nortel Patent Sale.)
The Wall Street Journal reports that RPX will license the patents to a separate syndicate of around 30 other technology companies, including Google and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), both of which settled patent suits with Rockstar last month. And the WSJ says the companies involved in Rockstar will get to keep the 2,000 patents they didn't contribute to the consortium, which are amongst Nortel's most valuable.
Why this matters
The mobile patent wars dominated headlines in years past with some questioning whether all the litigation came at the expense of innovation. As part of its deal with RPX, Rockstar is dropping suits against Samsung Corp. , LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. . Plus, the new licensing deal, encompassing 30 companies, should mean we won't see a return to the levels of courtroom drama the industry had in the past. That's a good thing for handset makers, operators and consumers -- really everyone but the lawyers.
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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading