According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Rockstar Consortium has agreed to sell over 4,000 of its telecommunications patents to San Francisco-based patent clearinghouse RPX Corp. The publication highlights that the consortium of big technology companies, which includes Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony, is selling its patent assets for less than a quarter of the $4.5 billion it paid for the full portfolio four years ago.
The new deal, which will put an end to a number of high-profile lawsuits filed by Rockstar against Android smartphone makers, is yet another sign that the smartphone-patent wars are starting to cool down. The report notes that RPX will turn around and license the patents to a separate syndicate of about 30 other technology companies that include Google and Cisco Systems. Furthermore, funds from the syndicate has made up much of the $900 million which is being paid for the patents to Rockstar.
“Peace is breaking out,” said John Amster, the chief executive of RPX. “I think people have started to realize that licensing, not litigation, is the best way to make use of patents, and this deal is a significant acknowledgment of that reality.”
Mark Chandler , Cisco’s general counsel, called the deal “constructive for the entire industry.” Added Erich Andersen, deputy general counsel at 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.”
Rockstar will also drop the remainder of its suits, which include claims against Samsung, LG, HTC and Huawei, as part of the deal with RPX.