Google, Rockstar Patent Fight Stays in California

A U.S. district judge has ruled in favor of Google by deciding that the Apple-backed Rockstar Consortium will have to fight its legal battles in California rather than Texas. Rockstar filed a lawsuit against Google and other Android phone companies last October. Since patent holders have a better track record of winning cases in Texas, Rockstar created a co-plaintiff, MobileStar Technologies in Plano, Texas, so that it could file the lawsuit there.

The seven patents involved in the lawsuit have allegedly been infringed upon by GoogleEUs search and advertising business, which then brings other Android device manufacturers into the mix as they rely on GoogleEUs services.

Last month, the two companies made their arguments regarding the venue dispute. Google lawyer Matthew Warren made the argument that because Apple contributed the most cash to buying the Nortel patents, the lawsuit should take place in AppleEUs state, California.

A Strong Link

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled almost entirely in GoogleEUs favor because of a link between Rockstar and Apple that she feels cannot be ignored. Apple contributed $2.6 of the $4.5 billion needed to buy the patents and also received more than half of those patents when the sale occurred. As a result, Wilken ruled that the majority of Rockstar is actually controlled by Apple and the lawsuit should be handled as such, even if they are technically separate companies.

The bid to move the case to Texas was justified by Rockstar because its co-plaintiff, MobileStar, claims Texas as its primary business location. However, given the evidence, Wilken views MobileStar as a EUshamEU company that exists simply to provide Rockstar with a way to have the case moved to a friendlier jurisdiction.

EUThe circumstances here strongly suggest that Rockstar formed MobileStar as a sham entity for the sole purpose of avoiding jurisdiction in all...

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