Remember Rockstar? The firm that sued Google recently? They’re owned by a conglomerate of tech companies, most notably Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft. They snapped up a slew of patents after the Nortel implosion, eventually driving the cost up to $4.5 billion. Now they’re looking to unload some of those patents, but they’re not having much luck.

In 2011, when the patents were purchased, there was a stiff bidding war. Google offered nearly $1 billion initially, but in negotiations the price was driven to the $4.5 billion purchase price. The aim with assembling the Rockstar team was to license the patents, which hasn’t been as fruitful as they’d like. Rockstar has sold a few of their patents — no creative license there, they’ve literally sold 7 patents — to a company named Spherix, which garnered them about $1 million in stock, some cash, and a percentage of future profits.

Without much luck licensing patents, Rockstar is now trying to sell them off. The problem is, hindsight being what it is, they probably overpaid. Now they’re trying to get back their investment, and it doesn’t seem to be working out. The patents held have to do with all types of mobile concerns, like 4G LTE, WiFi, and data networking — meaning just about everyone should need to license them, in theory.

In practice, it seems their concept is falling a bit flat. This won’t affect their pending litigation with Google, as those patents are not up for grabs, but it does make us wonder if desperation has set in ahead of patience. The aim of Rockstar was licensing patents, and selling them off isn’t unheard of, it just wasn’t the aim here.


  1. They didn’t overpay. They will get hundreds of millions, if not billions, in licensing fees just from google for the search patents they own. Plus the numerous 4g and other mobile patents rockstar companies now own will save them from being sued during the coming wave of 4G technology patent lawsuits. Google on the other hand will never recover the $12.5 billion it paid for motorola’s patents. So far Google hasn’t successfully asserted a single one of these patents, and they don’t seem to be on the winning track for any pending lawsuits related to these patents.


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