Apple/Microsoft 'Rockstar Consortium' Considering Patent Sale

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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In 2011, Apple teamed up with companies like Microsoft, Ericsson BlackBerry, and Sony to form a consortium to purchase a collection of 4,000 patents and patent applications for $4.5 billion from Nortel, a communications company that went bankrupt in 2009.

The team of companies, called the "Rockstar Consortium," is now holding discussions on a potential sale of a portion of those patents, reports Bloomberg, after attempts to land large licensing deals for the patents have failed.
The group, called Rockstar Consortium, has recently been in conversations with possible buyers about the patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn't public. Rockstar, which also includes BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY), Ericsson AB and Sony Corp., has had little success in landing large licensing deals for the patents, three of the people said.
Back in 2012, Nortel's portfolio of patents was highly sought after, with the Rockstar Consortium entering into an ongoing bidding war with Google, another technology company that was also after the patents.
A buyer, or several buyers, could acquire Rockstar's patent portfolio excluding those involved in the lawsuits, two people said. Because Rockstar bought the Nortel patents at a high price and doesn't want to sell them at a loss, the deals could be structured to take advantage of any future financial gain enjoyed by the buyer, the people said.

Another scenario would involve a third party joining the consortium to dilute existing investors, without involving a sale of particular patents, said one of the people.
According to Bloomberg, several of the patents have already been sold and earlier this year, reports indicated that the consortium filed suit against Google, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, and others for patent infringement on the Nortel portfolio. Apple and other Rockstar Consortium shareholders were reportedly not involved in the decision to sue.

The patents currently for sale are not the patents involved in the October lawsuit.

Article Link: Apple/Microsoft 'Rockstar Consortium' Considering Patent Sale
 

Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,510
7,423
New Hampshire, USA
All companies these days seem to be patent trolls.
A patent troll uses the patents to force companies into paying royalties under threat of lawsuit. I think though in this case the companies bought the patents to prevent them from being used against themselves. They also appear to be trying to sell the patents off (not license them) in order to get back some of the money they spent.
 

TMay

macrumors 68000
Dec 24, 2001
1,520
1
Carson City, NV
A patent troll uses the patents to force companies into paying royalties under threat of lawsuit. I think though in this case the companies bought the patents to prevent them from being used against themselves. They also appear to be trying to sell the patents off (not license them) in order to get back some of the money they spent.
They want to sell a portion of the patents, not all.
 

Bonte

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2002
958
166
Bruges, Belgium
Obviously, they are not going to sell the patents they use :).
They can sell them with the right to use them for free, everything is posible with patents.

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All companies these days seem to be patent trolls.
Can we blame them, Apple needs to pay billions to patent trolls for the stupidest patents the trolls don't use themselves. The patent system needs to blow up before something is done about it i guess.
 

FieldingMellish

Suspended
Jun 20, 2010
2,440
3,108
At its core, Apple is run by lawyers. See it every time you press a button to agree to a scrolling list of lawyereze that nobody reads.
 

StrongArmmed

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2010
84
26
Miami, FL
At their core, all modern corporations/companies are run by lawyers.

Since we live in the most litigious time in the history of humanity where there are more future lawyers in school than presently exist, I'm not entirely surprised that any entity with something of value to protect has some sort 20 page legal agreement you have to accept.

I'm a freelance photographer and you should see the contracts I ask my clients to sign before I even think about taking the gig...

At its core, Apple is run by lawyers. See it every time you press a button to agree to a scrolling list of lawyereze that nobody reads.
 

Doc C

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2013
204
117
I'm a freelance photographer and you should see the contracts I ask my clients to sign before I even think about taking the gig...
OT - Would actually be interested in seeing it - kids are starting to get interested in photography (thanks to the improving cameras in the phones and improved beginners tools on Apple devices. I have to keep warning them to avoid getting other people and other peoples' stuff in the pics just in case, as they are hoping to start a semi-private blog just to start to get a feel for things (nothing professional or income-generating, but all the same, I would like to make sure that they are protected; I am relatively uninformed when it comes to knowing what needs permission to photograph and what doesn't.)

Any tips as to resources I can refer them to to help guide them?
 

JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,473
124
Mpls, MN
OT - Would actually be interested in seeing it - kids are starting to get interested in photography (thanks to the improving cameras in the phones and improved beginners tools on Apple devices. I have to keep warning them to avoid getting other people and other peoples' stuff in the pics just in case, as they are hoping to start a semi-private blog just to start to get a feel for things (nothing professional or income-generating, but all the same, I would like to make sure that they are protected; I am relatively uninformed when it comes to knowing what needs permission to photograph and what doesn't.)

Any tips as to resources I can refer them to to help guide them?
This is always a big topic. I'm barely active as a photo hobbyist, but I've checked things like this out before. There are many, many discussions and websites on the topic. Here's an example:
http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

Note that this is about laws/rights. Dealing with angry idiots even when you are in the right may not be something you want to do.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
A patent troll uses the patents to force companies into paying royalties under threat of lawsuit. I think though in this case the companies bought the patents to prevent them from being used against themselves.
All the ex-Nortel patents that Apple et al bought, were assigned to Rockstar, which has no products of its own. That means it can sue others without worrying about patent infringement countersuits. In other words, it's a classic patent troll.

Rockstar itself has created two subsidiaries: Mobilestar and Netstar, concentrating on mobile and internet patents. They consist of a handful of employees who do nothing but reverse engineer other companies' software to see if it accidentally infringes, so they can sue them.

That is exactly what they did against Google, Samsung and other companies.

They also appear to be trying to sell the patents off (not license them) in order to get back some of the money they spent.
Yep, they spent way too much for what the patent group was generally considered to be worth. Apparently most of the patents are expired or almost expired.
 

StrongArmmed

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2010
84
26
Miami, FL
OT - Would actually be interested in seeing it - kids are starting to get interested in photography (thanks to the improving cameras in the phones and improved beginners tools on Apple devices. I have to keep warning them to avoid getting other people and other peoples' stuff in the pics just in case, as they are hoping to start a semi-private blog just to start to get a feel for things (nothing professional or income-generating, but all the same, I would like to make sure that they are protected; I am relatively uninformed when it comes to knowing what needs permission to photograph and what doesn't.)

Any tips as to resources I can refer them to to help guide them?
Happy Holidays! Sorry for the delay in responding...

What you're expressing concerns about here is more so permissions, termed "releases" in photography. Yes, you want to get releases -- primarily model releases for subjects that you shoot, so you can use the work for your own purposes, and/or location or property releases, for distinctive real property that might appear in images you want to market -- whenever possible, for commercial (for profit) images. Generally, for personal photography, you're good without those things.

She's not my attorney, but Carolyn Wright has some excellent resources for photogs. I've found A LOT of useful info on her site: http://www.photoattorney.com/. Start there for more information, along with forms you can download and use as a template for your own releases and contract addenda.
 

Doc C

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2013
204
117
Thanks!

Happy Holidays! Sorry for the delay in responding...

What you're expressing concerns about here is more so permissions, termed "releases" in photography. Yes, you want to get releases -- primarily model releases for subjects that you shoot, so you can use the work for your own purposes, and/or location or property releases, for distinctive real property that might appear in images you want to market -- whenever possible, for commercial (for profit) images. Generally, for personal photography, you're good without those things.

She's not my attorney, but Carolyn Wright has some excellent resources for photogs. I've found A LOT of useful info on her site: http://www.photoattorney.com/. Start there for more information, along with forms you can download and use as a template for your own releases and contract addenda.
Thank you kindly - much appreciated

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This is always a big topic. I'm barely active as a photo hobbyist, but I've checked things like this out before. There are many, many discussions and websites on the topic. Here's an example:
http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

Note that this is about laws/rights. Dealing with angry idiots even when you are in the right may not be something you want to do.
The latter issue is definitely one that you don't want a 10-yr old to have to face...
It's always better to err on the side of caution.
The reality is that most of the time, the pictures that the kids take are such that they don't really want other people in them anyhow, but sometimes it can't be helped. This, and jurisdictional variation, is what makes it such a difficult issue.

This is why I wanted input - your comments are appreciated.

Thanks for the link - definitely will be useful.
 
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