Google, Rockstar reach deal to settle lawsuit over Nortel patents

Backed by Microsoft, Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony, Rockstar acquired Nortel's patents after outbidding Google

Google has agreed to settle a patent lawsuit brought by Rockstar, a patent company that had earlier acquired a trove of patents from Nortel Networks.

In a filing in a Texas federal court, Rockstar said a binding term sheet had been executed that "settles, in principle, all matters in controversy between the parties" in the patent infringement dispute.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. A term sheet is usually an outline of an agreement arrived at ahead of a more detailed legal document.

As part of a rash of lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division in October last year, Rockstar alleged that seven patents it acquired from Nortel were infringed by Google. The patents, all titled "Associative Search Engine," refer to an invention used to provide advertisements based on users' search terms.

Backed by Microsoft, Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony, Rockstar acquired Nortel's patents for US$4.5 billion after outbidding Google in 2011.

The new agreement between Google and Rockstar does not appear to cover other patent infringement lawsuits that Rockstar and its subsidiaries filed against Samsung Electronics and some other licensees of Android in October last year in the same court.

Following an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by Google, these lawsuits in Texas against its partners have been put on hold until a court in California decides on a Google request for a ruling that it does not directly or indirectly infringe the seven Rockstar patents that the partners are accused of infringing. The Internet company said the suits in Texas threatened its business and relationships with its customers and partners and its sales of Nexus-branded Android devices.

In its filing this week, Rockstar has asked the Texas court to stay all deadlines in the case against Google in Texas until Dec. 29 as it works to convert the term sheet into a definitive agreement. Google could not be immediately reached for comment on the settlement.

"This period (45 days from the Term Sheet) is necessary due to the complexity of the transaction and the number of additional parties whose claims are concurrently being resolved," according to the filing, which suggests that Rockstar may also be negotiating with Samsung and the other companies it filed patent lawsuits against in October last year in Texas.

The settlement between Google and Rockstar suggests a general winding down of patent disputes, particularly in the smartphone business. In May, Apple and Google agreed to drop all patent infringement lawsuits between the two companies, while Cisco Systems recently indicated that a settlement with Rockstar was imminent in a patent dispute.

Longstanding rivals Samsung and Apple also agreed in August to end litigation outside the U.S., though the two companies continue to butt heads in patent disputes in a district court in California.

On the flip side, Samsung sued Nvidia recently for patent infringement, adding a charge of false advertising about the processor used in the Shield tablet, after Nvidia sued Samsung and Qualcomm in September for infringing patents related to its GPU technology.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightsmartphonesGooglelegalconsumer electronicsintellectual propertyRockstar

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?