The defendants are likely to argue that they did act independently, deciding that there was no reason to take a license, he said. They'll likely say that even though RPX started and ended negotiations with Cascades, that's no indication that there was a conspiracy, he said.
In addition, Cascades will have a hard time convincing a judge that competition in general has been harmed, as required by law, rather than simply that Cascades was harmed, he said.
If Cascades does manage to move forward and win the case, it would have a significant impact on a growing industry made up of companies like RPX trying to protect vendors from patent suits. "It would be saying that these joint defense agreements in which companies take a common stance may be illegal under antitrust laws," Levine said.
"If this case has legs to it, this could present difficulties in a number of litigation contexts where defendants try to ensure that they keep a united front," he said.
Cascades may have specific reasons for filing this suit after previously suing Dell, HTC and Motorola for patent infringement. "If they have any qualms about either the validity of the patents or whether device makers are possibly making the devices in always that don't infringe, then this may be an easier target in their eyes," Levine said. "One additional explanation would be to gain leverage in the infringement suit and try to bring the defendants to the table to negotiate a license."
Motorola declined comment on the suit. None of the other companies named in the suit replied to a request for comment.