APPLE AND MICROSOFT ESTABLISH “PATENT TROLL”

Apple and Microsoft have teamed up with BlackBerry-producer RIM, electronics company Sony and network company Ericsson and founded a new patent company “Rockstar”. On behalf of these companies, Rockstar will pursue licensing agreements and collect license payments from other companies.

Rockstar announced yesterday that the US Department of Justice waiting period for review of Rockstar’s acquisition of a substantial majority of the former Nortel Networks patent portfolio, has expired and the company is free to consummate the acquisition.

The five technology companies acquired the more than 100-year-old Canadian telecom and networking company Nortel for $ 4.5 billion in the past summer, mainly because of the 6000 patents. The portfolio consists of patents that describe techniques for wireless communications, 4g, voice services, optical networking technologies, and more. Part of the patents allegedly relate to social networking and search techniques.

The director of the new company, John Veschi, makes immediately clear what the company will do. Other tech companies have to pay to use technology that Nortel has ever patented. “The entire industry has benefitted from Nortel’s groundbreaking innovations, and we are eager to work with them to establish licenses enabling the continued use of this technology.”

Rockstar will probably try to sue Google and Android manufacturers to pay. Apple, Microsoft and RIM are all competitors of Google’s Android on the smartphone market. The consortium has companies on board that make money by creating hardware for Android: Sony makes Android smartphones and with its joint venture ST-Ericsson, Ericsson provides processors for Android phones to Sony.

The term “patent troll” was used as early as 1993 to describe companies that buy and enforce patents against alleged infringers by filing aggressive and opportunistic patent lawsuits, often with no intention to further develop, manufacture or market the patented invention. Rockstar may very well fall into this suspicious category …