Apple and Microsoft had teamed up to form a super patent troll called the Rockstar Consortium in a bid to take out Android. The Troll outbid Google, Intel – and a few others – in buying thousands of Nortel patents.
The “Rockstar Consortium” was not subject to promises that Apple and Microsoft initially made to license the patents under reasonable terms and launched its patent attack on Android last year.
It seems that a a settlement of sorts has been reached. Rockstar has agreed to sell its patents to RPX (with Google and Cisco picking up much of the bill). RPX has so far been a “good guy” in that it collects patents to stop trolling.
It’s making sure that basically anyone can license these patents under FRAND (fair and reasonable, non-discriminatory) rates. The price being paid is approximately $900 million.
This is considerably less than the $4.5 billion Microsoft and Apple paid but this was for only 4,000 of the 6,000 patents. It is safe to assume that Apple and Microsoft kept the 2,000 valuable patents.
Google and Cisco will license these patents to stop the majority of the lawsuits and can defend themselves if they feel threatened.
Cisco’s Mark Chandler celebrated the deal as a “common sense” solution. And, it certainly beats all out patent litigation war. But it’s still just about moving money around, rather than encouraging innovation. He notes that in settling this as a group, it helps keep things from getting totally out of control.