Last Friday, several cable operators filed a Complaint against Rockstar in D. Del. alleging that Rockstar’s assertion against them of patents breached obligations owed to various standard setting organizations (“SSOs”) based on prior owner Nortel’s commitment to license patents on RAND, FRAND or royalty-free terms. Our Jan. 2 and Nov. 1 posts discussed Rockstar’s purchase of Nortel’s patents from bankruptcy and recent Rockstar lawsuits against other cable operators as well as Google, Andriod device manufacturers and Cisco.
The Complaint accuses Rockstar–alleged to own over 4,000 patents acquired from Nortel–of “misuse and attempt[ing] to obtain exorbitant royalties” based on several acts:
Rockstar has misused and attempted to obtain exorbitant royalties from licensing the patents it purchased from Nortel by:
(a) refusing to identify to potential licensees the patents it seeks to enforce and instead broadly accusing companies of infringing the portfolio as a whole;
(b) requiring all potential licensees to sign non-disclosure agreements as a precondition to negotiating licensing agreements for the purpose of obtaining royalties in excess of its FRAND obligations;
(c) refusing to identify patents already licensed to vendors in an attempt to avoid exhaustion and extort multiple royalties; and
(d) once requests are made to license standard essential patents, transferring those patents to third parties in an attempt to obtain increased royalties and avoid its FRAND licensing obligations.
You may find here the Complaint with exhibits, which include Rockstar demand letters to the cable operators (but without the attached patents to reduce file size).