Rockstar, the patent licensing consortium that is owned by some of the heaviest hitters in the tech industry, recently filed suit in the state of Texas against Google. Google filed a countersuit, but did so in their home state of California. Google is now pressuring a US District Judge to dismiss the case in Texas, as they feel Rockstar is controlled by California-based Apple, and the case should be heard there.
Though Rockstar is technically owned by a consortium of which Apple is a member, Google asserts they’re the ones calling the shots. Google Counsel Matthew Warren says Rockstar turns to Apple for guidance, noting that all negotiations with Rockstar CEO eventually lead back to Cupertino:
We found Apple paid $2.6 billion to purchase part of Rockstar. We think it’s extremely likely that has led to continuing obligations [between Apple and Rockstar].” They [Rockstar] have held themselves out as having continuing obligations to Apple.
The Judge has given each party a discovery period to formulate arguments on the location scuffle, but Rockstar’s Lawyer Doug Cowley doesn’t think that’s even necessary. “They can do discovery on how much licensing revenue there is, but licensing revenue alone is not enough [to force Rockstar to transfer],” said Cowley. “They can do discovery on the one negotiation [that took place] in California, but the Federal Circuit said that is insufficient… we think discovery is a fruitless exercise.”
This is the first dust-up in what promises to be a long war. We won’t even consider this a battle within the war — it’s more like trying to agree on where the battle will take place. Google feels Apple controls Rockstar, and that should change the venue. Rockstar feels that the law is on their side, no matter where the case is held. Who do you think has a better argument?