Apple not involved in Rockstar's decision to sue Google

Apple not involved in decision to sue Google, says Rockstar CEO

It appears that Apple may not have had much to do with Rockstar's decision to sue Google over patents relating to search. Many expressed disappointment in the companies bankrolling Rockstar, which include Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry, that they would use their patents in this manner. However, it seems that Rockstar's decision to sue Google was made without consulting any of the consortium's shareholders. This is according to Rockstar CEO John Veschi in an interview with Intellectual Asset Management:

This is categorically not the case, Veschi says. “It was entirely my call based on the facts in front of me,” he states. “The shareholders got an email telling them what had happened after the suits were issued.”

Veschi maintains that the relationship between Rockstar and its shareholders is a distant one, and that they exert no influence over who Rockstar goes after. Veschi goal is to make sure that companies using patents contained in the Norvell and Nortel portfolios pay for what they're using.

While the action may not have been undertaken at their behest, it will be to the benefit of the shareholders. It doesn't really matter if Apple or Microsoft directed Rockstar to go after Google and Android or not. The result will be the same. Apple and Microsoft stand to make gains if Google's search is harmed in any way by these lawsuits.

Do you believe Veschi's statement that Rockstar's shareholders have nothing to do with the suits, and does it matter, anyway? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Intellectual Asset Management

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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Reader comments

Apple not involved in Rockstar's decision to sue Google

23 Comments

Well if this benefits apple I guess it is good. I don't really understand what they are suing them for though.

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It's not even Samsung. And let's not act like apple never steals anything. Imore or not let's be real...

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I don't get it. Apple and the rest bankrolled Rockstar but don't have much influence on what Rockstar does?

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I think it was more along the lines of buy in or get sued like the rest of them. For example, Google was one of the companies buying in like the rest and at the last minute they tried to buy up the entire patent portfolio for its own use (they did this in a very weird way almost as if it was a joke in the first place). Once thy didn't win they backed out. Rockstar had nothing to do with apple wanting to sue google. Now Microsoft and others I have no idea why they joined. It might be the same, but the fact that googles core search business is oddly one of the main points of this lawsuit makes me believe that Microsoft might be more involved then we all think. This is nothing more then a patent troll owning so many of the industries treasure trove of patents that companies had no real choice then to buy in or get sued in the process. I don't like it, but this sadly happens and might be the better option then having Google or some other company own these patents and literally sue every one of their competition right out of existence. Some of these patents are literally the equivalent of an atomic Bomb that if in the wrong hands could have been detrimental to the wireless industry as a whole. I think Google shows more of being shady In this whole transaction then does apple.

I doubt that the shareholders didn't have a say in this, but I get why they would make that statement though.

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Sure. I can believe that Rockstar is acting on its own accord. There's still plenty of room in the pool! It reminds me of beta testing... Eventually everyone will get this all worked out and then we'll have something to smile about.

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No, I dont believe it. Even if it is true, Apple will never be sued by Rockstar so they clearly have something to do with their decisions.

As much as people argue Google controls Moto in their suits (the whole Google sued Apple fallacy), there is no leg to stand on and say Apple doesn't control Rockstar without eating some claim chowder.

Apple owns 58% of Rockstar...but has no say in the only decision Rockstar has made to date, and which will be, BY FAR, the largest decision Rockstar ever will make?

You almost have to admire the chutzpah to lie so brazenly.

Apple does not direct the activities of Rockstar, same as Microsoft and the other partners. I own Apple stock. Does that mean I'm directly telling Apple what to do day-to-day? Of course not.

If you owned > 50% of Apple stock, you certainly could. You may wish to look up the concept of "controlling interest" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlling_interest )

More to the point, if you owned more than 50% of the company, you would be able to prevent any action Apple could take. That you you do not is tacit approval of those actions.

And that is the *best* you can say about Apple, as a majority owner of Rockstar - that they are deliberately choosing not to stop patent privateering. The more likely case, however, is that they are actively encouraging it.

Are you remotely familiar with the stock ownership percentages of the top AAPL shareholders? Even they are nowhere close to 50%. Not even close to 10%!

The patents were purchased for 4.5 billion dollars, and

"
Apple itself contributed $2.5 billion to the deal, meaning the company already had access to the patents. However, having access to patents and owning them outright are different."

This quote from http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Apple-Patents-Spending-Portfolio-Rockst...

That is the *lowest* number reported at the time, and it is 56% of the total. Either you think Apple is so bad at business that they would pay 55% for a < 10% share, or perhaps you may wish to get yourself "remotely familiar" with the proceedings.

This would be like the president saying "I had no idea our army was going to invade Iraq." A decision to sue Google is on par with that. Anyone here who thinks "Rockstar" isn't just a patent troll is a major fanboy for one of these companies. If Nortel, the company who patented all this, didn't want to sue Google then the companies buying the patents after the fact shouldn't be able to either. If "Rockstar" aka Apple, MS, and Black Berry, Buying this Patents should be for defense only. When a group of companies buy patents and transfer them to a new formed company like "Rockstar" its done because they want plausible deniability.