Android lawsuits settled as Rockstar Consortium sells patents

The patent wars are cooling down. Rockstar Consortium's litigation against numerous Android handset manufacturers has come to an end after the group sold 4,000 patents to RPX Corp.

The intellectual property risk mitigation company bought the patents for $900 million (£580 million), ending lawsuits against HTC, LG and Samsung.

Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony formed Rockstar Consortium back in 2011 to purchase around 6,000 patents from the bankrupt Nortel Network Corp for $4.5 billion (£2.9 billion).

2,000 of the patents had previously been shared between the members of the consortium, and the remainder have now exchanged hands for less a quarter of the original sale price.

Champagne corks will probably be popping at the headquarters of HTC, LG and Samsung, but this is just the latest in a series of patent cases closing down. Apple and Google shook hands and agreed to drop litigation against each other, and Samsung and Apple did the same earlier in the year.

While on the face of it, it seems as though the consortium has made a huge loss, it is likely to work out cheaper in the longrun - and RPX will earn money in licensing from the likes of Google and Cicso without the costs associated with legal action.

RPX Chief Executive John Amster said, "I think they were not thrilled at the litigation and thought there was a more efficient way to get fair value for the portfolio. It could have taken many years more of litigation to get the same value."

He added: "We commend everyone involved for their leadership and commitment to clearing the risk of the Rockstar portfolio by negotiating a reasonable purchase price in one efficient transaction".

Microsoft said that the news "demonstrates our patent system working to promote innovation".

Moving forward it seems as though the battle will be fought on the drawing boards and on the shop floor rather than in the court room, with the hope being that competition will not only help to drive innovation, but also drive down prices.

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