Google has won the chance to move a major court battle against a “patent troll” to California rather than face off in Texas, a state that’s been known to side with the wrong players on several occasions.
The lawsuit between Google and Rockstar Consortium, an entity formed by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson and Blackberry, revolves around a series of patents regarding Android mobile devices.
The case was launched last October and Google was soon to issue a counter attack, asking to move the dispute to California, rather than have the troll-friendly judges in the Eastern District of Texas rule on such an important matter.
US District Judge Claudia Wilken agreed with Google on the issue and went as far as to suggest that Rockstar won’t have an easy life proving its claims. Firstly, she dismissed the idea that Rockstar’s co-plaintiff, MobileStar, should be treated separately and differently from Rockstar.
“The circumstances here strongly suggest that Rockstar formed MobileStar as a sham entity for the sole purpose of avoiding jurisdiction in all other fora except MobileStar’s state of incorporation (Delaware) and claimed principal place of business (Texas). A mere day before it initiated litigation against Google’s customers, Rockstar freshly minted MobileStar, with no California contacts, and assigned the asserted patents to that subsidiary,” reads the ruling, as ArsTechnica reports.
Furthermore, the judge has mentioned that she sees a direct link between Apple’s business interest and the litigation moves initiated by Rockstar. Apple, for its part, provided most of the money needed for Rockstar to purchase the Nortel patents in 2011, which makes it the majority shareholder.
While Rockstar has said several times so far that it does not talk to its shareholders about potential licensing partners or infringement suits, the company’s CEO admitted to holding period calls and meetings with the owners.
That being said, the judge saw through the entire deal and remembered when Apple’s founder said that Android was a rip-off of iPhone features and wished that it could destroy the operating system.
“Defendants’ litigation strategy of suing Google customers is consistent with Apple’s particular business interest… This ‘scare the customer and run’ tactic advances Apple’s interest in interfering with Google’s Android business,” the judge said.
As mentioned, the lawsuit revolves around a series of patents regarding the Android OS. Rockstar claims that it owns patents related to data connection sharing, messaging and mobile notifications, but Google says that the company doesn’t actually use any of them, which puts Rockstar in the “patent troll” category.