Apple's Rockstar Reportedly Considers Patent Sale

The patent-holding company known as Rockstar Consortium is considering a patent sale, according to Bloomberg. The patents were originally obtained from now-defunct Nortel, after a lengthy auction process involving many big players in technology, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others.

For Sale

Rockstar was formed out of that bidding process when Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson AB, and Sony Corp.—you are welcome to read that as anyone but Google—and the US$4.5 billion they paid gave them all access to roughly 4,000 patents all told.

It was one of the largest patent deals in history, and seen as a big play in the smartphone patent wars being waged by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia. To that end, the first public action from Rockstar came to light in November, when Rockstar sued Google for a search-related patent.

Other companies sued include Huawei, Asustek, ZTE, HTC, Samsung, LG Electronics, and Pantech. The portion of the portfolio being newly considered for sale do not include the patents involved in those actions.

Bloomberg reported that Rockstar has been parting out some of its portfolio, including a deal for $1 million in cash and stock with a company called Spherix. That deal also involves a percentage of future profits, and that's a strategy that Rockstar is considering for other sales.

Unnamed sources also said that Rockstar—and by extension, its owners—are considering allowing another corporate entity to join Rockstar so as to "dilute investing investors" without selling anything.

Image made with help and help and help from Shutterstock.