Rockstar Consortium was denied a motion to move part of its patent infringement fight with Google from California to the Easter District of Texas -- a court known for favoring patent trolls. The patent holding company includes Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry to buy Nortel's patent portfolio, and is suing Google.
Rockstar misses out on moving Google patent counter case to Eastern Texas
The patent holding company filed its infringement suit in U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas, and Google countered by filing a patent invalidation suit in California. Rockstar Consortium then petitioned the court to move Google's suit to Texas, but District Court Judge Claudia Wilken shot that down saying Google offered up evidence to keel the case from moving.
Judge Wilken called Rockstar's action a "scare the customer and run tactic" designed to pander to Apple's interests and interfere with Google's Android business.
Her comments key in on the fact that Apple is a most likely a majority shareholder in Rockstar, and as such she assumes the group's actions are geared towards suiting Apple's own agenda. That may well be, but it isn't necessarily a given.
Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said,
The fact that Apple is (likely) a majority shareholder does not necessarily mean that Apple has a majority of the voting rights. It's actually unlikely that Apple holds a majority of the votes: its partners are large players like Microsoft and Ericsson, who would hardly have accepted to be (collectively!) Apple's junior partner in terms of control.
That means it's possible Rockstar is acting with its own -- or other company partners -- interests in mind even if Apple isn't interested in using the consortium to sue Google. Considering Apple's, ongoing patent infringement fight with Samsung over Android-based smartphones, it's also possible that the iPhone and iPad maker is using Rockstar as a pawn to indirectly attack Google.
Regardless of the motivation behind suing Google for patent infringement, filing the case in a court known for favoring patent holders, and then trying to move Google's counter suit to the same court, feels very troll-like. Right or wrong, it brings some of the patent troll stink to Rockstar, and to all the companies that back it -- including Apple.