A US district judge recently issued an order denying Rockstarís motion to transfer a patent invalidation suit leveled by Google from California to the more patent holder-friendly Eastern District of Texas. According to US District Court Judge Claudia Wilkenís ruling, Google provided sufficient evidence to keep its countersuit against the patent consortium in California, a substantial win for the Mountain View-based company according to Reuters.
For those of you who didnít know, in 2011, the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium paid $4.5 billion ($2.6 billion of which came from Apple) to outbid a Google-backed group for a cache of Nortel patents. Rockstar, which includes tech heavyweights such as Microsoft, BlackBerry, and Sony Ericsson, then leveraged the properties against Google and seven Android handset makers in an October 2013 suit filed in the Eastern District of Texas.
Looking to invalidate the very patents it unsuccessfully bid on just months earlier, Google lodged a countersuit against Rockstar in California. Aside from arguing non-infringement, the move was a tactical one meant to bring jurisdiction back to the West Coast. Rockstar ended up filing a motion to dismiss the California case, or otherwise transfer proceedings to Texas where the consortium has an office. It should be noted that the co-plaintiff in Rockstarís case, MobileStar, also has presence in Texas.
As noted by the folks over at ArsTechnica, Judge Wilkenís wasnít persuaded by Rockstarís defense in the California action. Judge Wilkenís order mentions the following:
[...] 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. [...] Other evidence suggesting MobileStar maintains no independent identity is the fact that all MobileStar employees also work for Rockstar.
Source: ArsTechnica, Reuters via AppleInsider