Google, and seven Android handset manufacturers have been hit with patent infringement lawsuits based on patents formerly owned by the bankrupt Nortel.
Google lost an attempt to buy the patents when they were put up for sale, and now faces paying out extra if it loses the lawsuits.
Rockstar, a consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Sony and EMC Corporation paid US$4.5 billion for the patents in June 2011, and has long been expected to start lawsuits at some point.
It has now filed suits against Samsung, HTC, Huawei, Google, Asus, Pantch, ZTE and LG for infringement claims.
Google initially offered US$900 million for the patents, but slowly built its offer up to US$4.4 billion — before being beaten by the rival consortium. That Google placed such a high value on the patents may hurt its defence in a lawsuit as it will struggle to argue that the patents are worthless or invalid.
“Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe,” the lawsuit claims.
Seven patens are involved in the lawsuit — mostly related to database and data related issues — so while not specific to mobile phones, they could impact on Google’s ability to deliver its own services to Android phones.
The Google case in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas is Rockstar Consortium US LP and Netstar Technologies LLC vs. Google, 13-893.