RPX Corporation purchased nearly 4,000 patents from the Rockstar Consortium, a patent holding entity that was formed by a number of tech giants to purchase the patents in question in 2011. RPX will license the patents now under its control to any company that wants to use them under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.
The patents will be licensed through RPX Clearinghouse to a syndicate of technology companies including Cisco and Google. Rockstar stakeholders, including Microsoft and Apple, will retain a non-exclusive license to the patents.
“Today’s announcement is good news for our industry as it demonstrates our patent system working to promote innovation,” Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Erich Andersen said in a press release. “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 and our valuable license to the patents being sold.”
The consortium originally bought 6,000 patents from Nortel’s bankruptcy sale. Around 2,000 of those have been transferred to different Rockstar stakeholders, and RPX now has control over the remainder. The sale was worth roughly $900 million, which is well below the $4.5 billion consortium members paid to acquire the patents at auction. However, many of the highest-value patents were not included in the sale.
This deal is good news for Samsung, LG and HTC, which were all facing patent infringement lawsuits from Rockstar. As a part of this deal, those suits will be dropped.