Google sued over Nortel patents it had tried to acquire

Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:36pm EDT
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By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO Oct 31 (Reuters) - The group that owns thousands of former Nortel patents filed its first patent lawsuit on Thursday against a familiar target: Google, the company it outbid in the Nortel bankruptcy auction.

Rockstar, a consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony, sued Google in a Texas federal court, accusing the internet search company of infringing seven patents. The patents cover technology that helps match search terms with relevant advertising, the lawsuit said, which is the core of Google's search business.

Representatives for Google and Rockstar could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2011 Google placed an initial $900 million bid for Nortel's thousands of patents. The company increased its bid several times, ultimately offering as high as $4.4 billion. However, Rockstar acquired the portfolio for $4.5 billion.

Google then acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, a deal driven partly by Motorola's library of patents.

"Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe," the lawsuit said.

Rockstar is seeking increased damages against Google, as it claims Google's patent infringement is willful, according to the complaint.

The case in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas is Rockstar Consortium US LP and Netstar Technologies LLC vs. Google, 13-893.