In 2011, Microsoft, Apple, Ericsson, RIM, Sony and EMC formed the Rockstar Consortium, a joint effort to prevent Google from gaining access to patents from the bankrupt multinational telecommunications and data networking equipment manufacturer Nortel. They paid a hefty 4.5 billion in order to achieve their goals of wining the auction of 6000 patents, held in New York in June 2011.
RPX Clearinghouse, a company working in the patent market trying to provide a rational alternative to litigation, has acquired 4000 patents from the consortium for $900 million. These will add up to the other 5000 patents already owned. The remaining patents held by Rockstar were already distributed to its members.
The company's approach to the patent licensing has worked well in the case of MPEG-LA (patent pool for video codecs), with Google reaching a settlement last year over its VP8 codec. Today's announcement of RPX buying patents from Rockstar is "good news for our industry as it demonstrates our patent system working to promote innovation", said Erich Andersen, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft.
RPX CEO John A. Amster stated his syndicate proves again that their clearinghouse approach can transform prolonged litigation into "one that is transparent, scalable, and provides a rational outcome for licensors and licensees alike."