Rockstar and Google and its Android partners are apparently close to a settlement

By Nicole Daniel

In November 2014 Rockstar and Google have reached an agreement in principle in order to settle all patent litigation claims between them over the operating system Android. They also appear to move towards a settlement of Rockstar’s other patent claims against the makers of smartphones and tablets which are Android-powered.

Rockstar is a joint-venture of Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry and other mobile companies via the purchase of patents owned by Nortel Networks, which went bankrupt, for $4.5 billion in 2011. These companies outbid Google for these patents.

In October 2013 Rockstar sued Google and a few Android device makers such as Samsung, LG, Asus and others in the Eastern District of Texas. In turn Google filed a suit in the Northern District of California and asked for a ruling holding that Google does not infringe Rockstar’s patents. In April 2014 Rockstar’s motion to transfer the latter suit from California to Texas was denied. In July 2014 the defendants’ request to transfer the Texas case to California was also denied.

In October 2014 however the Federal Circuit ordered a stay of the Texas litigation which means that the patent litigation will be decided in California.

On 4 November 2014 Rockstar and Google told US District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland that their mediation session with a retired chief judge of the Eastern District of Texas on 20 October 2014 had failed.

However, it appears that settlement talks moved on quickly after that mediation session since in a filing in November 2014 for a 45-day-stay, Rockstar and Google wrote that on 12 November 2014 a binding term sheet was executed settling the matters of controversy between the parties. The terms of this pending settlement were not disclosed. Whether the settlement would apply to Google’s partners too who were also sued by Rockstar was also not disclosed. Nevertheless a second filing with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit indicated that a settlement between Rockstar and the other Android device makers was also close.

It remains to be seen whether settlements between all parties to the patent suits will be finally agreed upon in the next few weeks.