Rockstar Consortium (partly owned by Apple and Microsoft), a patent-holding company formed from the bankrupt Canadian telecom company Nortel, sued Google and manufacturers of Android phones over patents almost two months ago. Earlier this week Google punched back at the company, filing a counter-suit seeking to invalidate Rockstar's patents. That's a normal step for a defendant in a patent lawsuit, but Google didn't file its counter-claim in the East Texas court where Rockstar sued them. Instead it filed in Northern California.
Google's lawyers say that the reason the case should be heard in a California court is because Apple is a large shareholder and has a seat on Rockstar's board of directors. Google also said that Rockstar started farming out its patents shortly after its formation and transferred more than 1,000 patents to Apple alone.
The new lawsuit also notes that Rockstar has reached out to hundreds of other companies in recent months seeking to license the patents and much of that activity has occurred in California.
"In fact, Rockstar’s CEO has stated that it would be difficult to imagine that any tech companies—legions of which call California home—do not infringe Rockstar’s patents," write Google lawyers.
Rockstar maintains that its business is in Plano, Texas, "but the substantial majority of its employees, including senior management, are based in Ontario, Canada," says Google. "Rockstar Consortium is admittedly a 'patent licensing business' that produces no products, and instead exists solely to assert its patents… Rockstar intends the Android OEM Actions to harm Google’s Android platform and disrupt Google’s relationships with the Android OEM Defendants."
Rockstar is owned by Apple, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Ericsson, and Sony. The company paid $4.5 billion to acquire the Nortel patent portfolio, the largest sum ever spent on patents.
Google's counter-suit was filed on Monday.
Source: Ars Technica