Huawei settles with Rockstar consortium for infringing on Nortel patents

Despite Google's efforts to protect Android OEMs from the Rockstar consortium, Huawei has opted to settle by paying an undisclosed amount for infringing on patents previously owned by Nortel in its Android devices.

The Microsoft and Apple led Rockstar consortium filed a lawsuit against seven Android OEMs and Google on the basis of networking patents acquired from Nortel in November. Now, Huawei has become the first company to settle with the consortium by paying an undisclosed amount. 

Huawei will have to license the patents that have been infringed upon as the settlement does not cover future use of the patents. The remaining defendants who are yet to respond to the lawsuit are Samsung, ZTE, LG, HTC, Pantech, and ASUSTeK. 

Google counter-sued the Rockstar consortium following the November lawsuit but it seems that OEMs are skeptical about the outcome judging from Huawei's decision to reach the settlement. It also indicates that the patents controlled by the consortium hold substantial merit with regards to the case.

Source: FOSS PatentsTablet with gavel image via Shutterstock

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While I agree that it's shady, I think personally I would rather use 4.5billion dollars for something more interesting than buying patents to create my own consortium.

FYI: The $4.5 billion went straight into the Nortel pension fund. This was all that was left to compensate tens of thousands of former employees who lost their livelihoods and pensions when Nortel went tits up. Frankly, I'd say this was pretty "interesting".

Major_Plonquer said,
FYI: The $4.5 billion went straight into the Nortel pension fund. This was all that was left to compensate tens of thousands of former employees who lost their livelihoods and pensions when Nortel went tits up. Frankly, I'd say this was pretty "interesting".

While it's noble to refund people who lost out when Nortel collapsed, The whole purpose of these "Consortiums" is to buy/pool up patents for the sole purpose of suing people and companies for infringements of patents that they didn't create. It's contrary to the whole point of the patent system, and it's really starting to stifle the tech industry.

Therefore, shady.

Major_Plonquer said,
FYI: The $4.5 billion went straight into the Nortel pension fund. This was all that was left to compensate tens of thousands of former employees who lost their livelihoods and pensions when Nortel went tits up. Frankly, I'd say this was pretty "interesting".

That's a good fact and interesting, but I was more referring to Majesticmerc copying the idea. I guess I'll also add, good luck getting the 4.5b in the first place.

Majesticmerc said,

While it's noble to refund people who lost out when Nortel collapsed, The whole purpose of these "Consortiums" is to buy/pool up patents for the sole purpose of suing people and companies for infringements of patents that they didn't create. It's contrary to the whole point of the patent system, and it's really starting to stifle the tech industry.

Therefore, shady.

Is it shady though? Patents help cover the technology companies have poured money into with R&D, marketing, expenses, etc, etc. If a company doesnt make money then they die, and then, stop pushing the industry forward. Some companies went in and paid large sums of money to buy these patents to make their products better (if nothing else but to use the technology). Google had a chance to join but didnt. They didnt put up their money. So I think they, and their partners, should license the patents and work on future technologies if they want to avoid the consortium. But, thats just my opinion =).

What you just described isn't what was being said. This consortium never had any intention to "make their products better" or even use the technology. Which means that it is a dead technology as no other company can build on or improve it and those who want to use it are on the hook for the royalties. The only reason this company even hired people that know about technology is so they can find out when others are using it.

This is contrary to the spirit of innovation, and was suggested to be "contrary to the point of the patent system" which can still be debated.

There is also an argument that they bought the patents to protect themselves from them being used against them. Sort of a defense against others who might hold it over their heads. Which is why you would want to buy a patent really. So you can innovate and keep progressing without delay. Either way, they own them now and whether they dont use them, use them, were never going to use them but might, or were going to use them but didnt, they have the patents now.

But I think that "contrary to the point of the patent system" is very much debated. If you cant profit from a patent then that is what will kill innovation the quickest. There needs to be protection for the patent holder to do what they will with the patent, preferably use it to make more money to put more into R&D and more into innovation, thus getting more patents, more money, etc, etc. It seems like with these patent cases people get angry at the person who has the patent because they can be preserved as the bully patent hog. But there are many ways to justify opinions on the matter I guess. =)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockstar_Consortium

Rockstar Consortium Inc., originally named Rockstar Bidco,[1] is an organization formed by a consortium including Apple, Inc. and Microsoft[1] to negotiate licensing for patents acquired from bankrupt Nortel.[2][3] Other companies in the consortium include BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony.[4] Rockstar is a patent holding non-practicing entity (NPE) and submitted the winning US$4.5 billion bid for the Nortel patents at a week-long auction held in New York in June 2011.[5]