Nortel is getting a second life, sort of, as a patent troll. The Rockstar consortium, jointly owned by Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony and the group that purchased the Nortel patents when the company went out of business, is now suing Time Warner Cable for infringement on six of their patents. The complaint states, “TWC operates, sells and offers to sell video, high- speed data and voice services over its broadband cable systems throughout the United States”… presumably (allegedly) violation a Nortel patent in the process.
The lawyer for Rockstar consortium released a statement saying, “Nortel was the source of many of the most important innovations in history in the field of telecommunications and networking.” Indeed, one of the patents in the suit is from 1998.
This is not the first time that the consortium has sued competitors and technology giants for patent infringement. Rockstar is known for suing phone companies for patent infringement, such as the nuclear war they declared on Android and co. Of course, it can be said since Rockstar is owned by major tech firms, who actually provide products and services, that this isn’t patent trolling per se. But I’m sure many people will disagree.
Congress had tried to put a lid on such trolling but Microsoft, one of the owners in the consortium, managed to strip out any real language that would make the provisions worth anything. Why? Because Microsoft loves asserting intellectual property to glean licensing fees out of companies. And, personally speaking, I say more power to them — most all other companies would be doing the same thing if they had the IP strength that Microsoft has. After all, companies are in business to make money.
Now why Congress buckled under corporate lobbying — the same Congress that is in business for supposedly working for the people, the ones hurt most by such litigation — is another question entirely. Welcome to politics?