Apple, Microsoft create patent troll Rockstar

Nortel patents bought by Apple, Microsoft fuel new troll claiming control of technologies such as 3G.

Wired magazine calls Rockstar Consortium's portfolio "4,000 Patent Warheads" designed to troll on behalf of Microsoft and Apple, doing their dirty work while keeping them out of countersuits. Since Rockstar is a 32-person company with no products, there is no way their targets can trade patents to settle the implied threat of lawsuits. Unless Rockstar's targets sue them for illegally reverse-engineering their products to discover patent infractions.

Much like the researchers at Bell Labs, IBM, or Xerox's PARC, Nortel's engineers worked on fundamentals of technologies that run the world today. Management incompetence and alleged malfeasance bankrupted Nortel in 2009. Apple and Microsoft spent $4.5 billion for those patents, and indications are they intend to recoup their investment and more at the expense of Google and others, especially in the smartphone business.

More evidence of a broken patent system

the USPTO doesn't do any real work in checking for infringement. They grant moronic patents left and right then leave it up to overpriced lawyers and courts to figure it out.

MustBeSaid on wired.com

I think the REAL issue, is that they lock up IDEAS. Ideas by themselves are inherently worthless. It's the EXECUTION that matters.

beernutz on news.ycombinator.com

People wonder why there are fewer hardware startups, but I can tell you the hardware guys I know have expressed concerns over patent issues for not helping me work on a low-power server

18pfsmt on news.ycombinator.com

Will get messier

I have a feeling we're not far off from Metal Gear Solid 4 corporate warfare.

Lowesteofthekeys on techdirt.com

In the end we'll be paying $1 for product and $99 for patents.

Full Metal Pizza on wired.com

The real issue is that patents favor large players (even if they are 'branching out' and aren't an incumbent in a particular area) to the detriment of smaller players.

pyre on news.ycombinator.com

Legal? Is this legal?

I love it, when they do it they are called reverse-engineers. When we do it we are called hackers and get threats of legal action.

weneedhelp on techdirt.com

If you innovate by not copying anyone then you innovate. If you copy someone then you should be called to account.

rattyuk on wired.com

Pretty much any EULA I've ever seen for software, with the exception of open source, prohibits reverse engineering? Why does this troll get to do it, but normal people can't (at least not legally)?

Yartrebo on techdirt.com

Give your over/under for the number of years before patent reform starts in earnest A) 2 years B) 10 years C) never.

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