Google not as innocent as we might think when it comes to Rockstar lawsuit, claims FOSS Patents

December 26, 2013

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If you think Google is the ‘good guy’ in their new lawsuit with the Rockstar consortium, Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents would like you to reconsider. He recently pointed out that Google has filed for a declaratory judgement, and their lawsuit is rife with double-talk and false innuendo. The search giant stops just shy of calling the Rockstar group patent trolls, but nonetheless eludes to those practices throughout their filing.

According to Mueller, issues in this suit really begin and end with the patent acquisition itself. He notes that Google’s aggressive pursuit of the now-defunct Nortel’s patents led to the very assembly of Rockstar. We’ve mentioned plenty of times that Google’s pursuit of the patents led to the eventual $4.5 billion selling price, but Mueller takes it a step further. He says, in part, “…Google’s aggressive pursuit of the Nortel patent portfolio … forced other industry players to join forces in order to clear the market of these patents. If not for Google’s aggressive pursuit, these patents would have sold at a fraction of the price.”

In his assessment, Google’s failed attempt at the Nortel patents was also a precursor for the Motorola bid. The purchase of Motorola has been widely touted as focussed on the patents rather than hardware or software holdings. As we know now, the patents have had little effect for Google, and serve as a false-front to many recent litigations. Mueller suggests Google was attempting to protect itself similarly with the Nortell patents, which he believes is where Google shows themselves to be the hypocrite.


Since their IPO in 2003, Google has offered up no licensing of their technology, which “is in stark contrast to industry practice.” Mueller goes on to point out that in launching Android, Google essentially took — not licensed — from Apple (multi-touch interface), Microsoft (OS technology), and Oracle (Java). In the filing, Google claims Rockstar has now "placed a cloud" on Android.

Additionally, Mueller properly notes that Google has snapped up several patent packages from the likes of IBM, and some from failed startups Google now “denounces as ‘trolls’”. The report is a damning assessment of Google’s aim — not only with this recent legal tangling, but overall. This is the ebb and flow, though; get sued, claim innocence, then do the same. We won’t say Google is necessarily the ‘bad guy’ in this scenario, but the report is an enlightening look at how they’re just like any other big tech company, not a beacon of exemplary behavior.

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  • testmang

    FOSS??? Florian Mueller got paid from oracle to trash talk Google when the oracle-Google case was going on. I wont be surprised if he is doing the same now

  • coldcustard

    Foss patents posts anything which has an impact upon anything Google and or Android. Whilst calling Motorola Samsung Google as trolls for defending againsts litigation by apple /Microsoft/Oracle and then agrees that it is OK for rockstar(which is basically apple and Microsoft) to sue Google et al from a non operating entity. His posts are hypocritical and a front for Oracle and Microsoft.

    • gmaninvan

      I think the biggest standout is that Microsoft, apple, etc. Were only granted those patents based on a promise that they wouldn’t use them for aggressive litigation. Is that not what this is?

  • Steve McCartney

    Yeah, Mueller is a paid consultant for both Oracle and Microsoft. If you look at the site, almost everything related to Google and/or Android manufacturers is negative. His bias is huge and so anything he writes should be taken with a massive pinch of salt. His posts are not worthy of creating an article from.

    • gmaninvan

      My sentiments exactly. I remember when it came out he was being paid for some posts. I strongly doubt that this isn’t one of those by the way it reads

    • Neo Forever

      How massive of a pinch are we talking about here? Because I only have normal sized hands. 😛 Sorry I had to.

      But yea I can’t believe other sites are promoting FLOSS bits and plaque.

    • JohnnyL53

      Exactly how did his negative Google comments affect the outcome of those cases? Seems like he was more right than not based on the outcomes.

      • Steve McCartney

        You’re asking for evidence of something I didn’t state. I would be deeply concerned if his comments had affected the cases. That would be grounds for mistrial. My point is that the views of someone who gets paid both by Microsoft (a Google competitor), and Oracle (who sued Google) cannot and should not be taken at face value as unbiased legal opinion. I think when the source of an article about a Google lawsuit gets paid by Google competitors it is in the interest of the reader to know. They can then make up their own mind about how much credence it deserves. That’s all.

  • ArthurApplebee

    Seriously, Mueller is a horrible journalist (if you can call him that). He ignores the truth and just promotes the lies he is paid to say. He has been wrong consistently on these subjects.

    • Timothy Anderson

      Correct. Thank you. Argument is that Google, in trying to protect itself from trolls, forced these poor companies to be trolls.

    • CorkChop

      At least Mueller knows how to spell Nortel.

  • Na3blis

    What google is doing is nowhere near the same thing! They aren’t suing the competition with the patents they are buying, they are buying them to prevent others from suing them. And those things google ‘took’ should not even be patents, and oracle lost the case against java, fyi.

  • jpa00

    While Rockstar is effectively a patent troll, Mueller is just a plain old troll. Well, a paid troll, which I suppose is good for him. It does however reflect rather poorly on any site that considers him any sort of an authority on anything.

  • tommyfresh

    This has been common knowledge throughout the entire escapade. Google and their partners have been facing lawsuit after lawsuit from Apple and other tech companies for some time before the Nortel patents were even up for grabs. The move to buy up the patents on Google’s behalf was in self defense, and was bid on modestly by Google before Rockstar began trying to outbid them. Rockstar, on the other hand, only intended to bring forth legal action with the acquisition of the Nortel patents. It was a smart business move on Google’s part to try and get these patents, knowing the unfortunate environment in the tech industry. It would be an insanely far reach to try and compare Rockstar to Google.

  • joe

    The difference is Google uses the patents they own.

  • pjcamp

    What a pile of bullshit. Apple didn’t invent multitouch, Java was free and open source when Oracle bought it so crocodile tears, and “OS technology” doesn’t mean anything. Android was developed simultaneously with iOS and is based on embedded Linux, not Windows.

  • fredphoesh

    What rubbish! Google were always trying to protect themselves against greedy pigs like the Apple corporation’s desire to claim obvious design and implementation as unique and theirs.