Apple and its Rockstar Allies Sell Smartphone Patents for USD 900M


Apple and other technology companies in Rockstar Consortium, have sold 4000 smartphone patents for USD 900 million to RPX corporation subsidiary RPX Clearinghouse LLC, a patent risk solutions provider, which in turn will issue licenses to another group of about 30 companies including Google and Cisco.

The Apple-led Rockstar Consortium LLC which includes Blackberry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony initially purchased patents for USD 4.5 billion 4 years ago from Nortel bankruptcy estate. As per a CNet report, the consortium used the patents to file suits against Google and Android handset makers Samsung, Huawei and HTC in 2013 and settled the suit last month under undisclosed terms.

The deal is expected to end a long running war against smartphone patents also helps to end a series of lawsuits which effectively pitted Rockstar against smartphone makers.

Today’s announcement is good news for our industry as it demonstrates our patent system working to promote innovation,” said Erich Andersen, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft. “We joined Rockstar to ensure that both Microsoft and our industry would have broad access to the Nortel patent portfolio, and we’re pleased to have accomplished that goal through this sale and our valuable license to the patents being sold.”

RPX received a transaction fee for its work, and the remainder of which will be recognized upon closing. Also, it expects to contribute around USD 35 million to the transaction in exchange for ownership of the patents.

In August, Samsung and Apple had agreed to drop all patent disputes against each other outside the US. And, both  companies said in the statement that “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.” This news will hopefully now bring some peace in the patent wars battlefield.

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