Apple-Led Rockstar Consortium Sells off Smartphone Patents

The Rockstar Consortium has agreed to sell about 4,000 smartphone and other technology patents to RPX Clearinghouse for $900 million. Rockstar, which is made up of Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony, purchased the patents from the bankrupt Nortel Networks back in 2011 for $4.5 billion. RPX announced in a press release that it plans to license the patents to a syndicate of over 30 companies, including Cisco and Google.

This deal signals the end of a series of lawsuits in which the Apple-led Rockstar used the patents to go after rival Google. Android smartphone makers, such as Samsung, Huawei, and HTC, have all been on the receiving end of patent lawsuits from Rockstar. However, last month saw news of a settlement emerge and, with the sale of the patents, Apple appears to be abandoning this strategy.

Patent lawsuits have been all-too-common in the smartphone industry, but companies at last seem to be getting tired of participating in these drawn-out and expensive affairs. The last year has seen a number of companies sign cross-licensing agreements and bitter enemies Apple and Samsung even agreed to drop all international disputes. While patent lawsuits will likely never disappear entirely, it does appear that there will at least be less of them in the coming year.

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