Rockstar Consortium and the Nortel patents
It has 4,000 patents which were bought from Nortel, a telecommunications equipment manufacturer that went bankrupt. Nortel originally obtained those patents for defensive purposes, so this goes to show that "defensive" patents can easily become aggressive patents.
Rockstar later sold a minority of these patents to Spherix, who went on to accuse Cisco of infringement. Rockstar received Spherix common stock as part of the deal, so they have an interest in Spherix getting as much money from Cisco as possible, and they probably knew Spherix's plans (they probably wouldn't acquire Spherix stock without hearing the business model), so they could be see as litigation-by-proxy.
Reported demise in 2014
Rockstar Consortium threat evaporates
The Rockstar Consortium was formed by Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, Sony, and Apple to exploit the 6,000 patents from Nortel Networks. The Rockstar Consortium sued Google for infringement of the Android operating system. This litigation was aimed at fundamental functions of the Android operating system and could have had a significant effect on the Android ecosystem. The Rockstar Consortium settled its litigation with Google this year, but then sold 4,000 of its patents to RPX, the patent defense firm (financed by a number of companies as well as RPX). The remaining patents were distributed to the members of the Rockstar Consortium.
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- CPTN Holdings LLC - a similar organisation, also with MS and Apple, but using old Novell patents
- Patent trolls - Rockstar will be called a troll, but it's more accurately a sock puppet of the founding companies
- More than trolls
Spherix sues Cisco for 'immense' patent infringement], 25 March 2014, itworld
- Discussion: Slashdot
- Apple And Microsoft Behind Patent Troll Armed With Thousands Of Nortel Patents, 23 May 2012, Techdirt
- How Apple and Microsoft Armed 4,000 Patent Warheads, 21 May 2012, Wired
- In patent wars, the casualty is progress, 5 Oct 2011, Ottawa Citizen
- Dealtalk: Google bid "pi" for Nortel patents and lost, 1 Jul 2011, Reuters
- Apple, RIM in group buying Nortel patents for US$4.5B, 30 Jun 2011, CNet
- Bid for Nortel patents marks Google's new push into mobile world, 13 Apr 2011, Global Mail
- "Google wins a game of “Escape from East Texas,” linking Rockstar to Apple". http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/04/google-wins-a-game-of-escape-from-east-texas-linking-rockstar-to-apple/. "A federal judge issued an order today decreeing that Google's court battle against a "patent troll" owned by its competitors must be fought out in California, not in Texas. (...) [Judge] Wilken goes on to note that Apple, a Silicon Valley stalwart, is the majority shareholder of Rockstar."