Google, Samsung, and several other Android handset manufacturers are being sued by Rockstar, a consortium backed by Android competitors Microsoft and Apple, over alleged infringement of several search patents acquired by Rockstar from Nortel in 2011. Last year HTC reached a ten-year agreement with Apple as part of a patent infringement settlement. That deal would result in both companies licensing existing and future patents from one another, but it seems that agreement does not apply in this case.
The seven patents in question deal with matching search terms to relevant advertisements. Google is primarily a search and advertising company, so a loss in this case could be a serious blow. At the heart of the suit is Google’s Android platform, which Rockstar says infringes these web search patents. Because Samsung, HTC, Huawei, and others build on this platform, they are also being named in the suit.
Rockstar acquired the patents for over $4 billion last year and claims that Google’s continued use of the unlicensed technology is a wilful infringement of the consortium’s intellectual property.