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Apple-backed Rockstar Consortium to shed 4,000 patents, end lawsuits in $900M deal

Rockstar Consortium — the patent holding firm created by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony to purchase thousands of foundational telecom patents from now-defunct Nortel — looks set to wind down operations after the partners agreed to sell much of Rockstar's patent portfolio to IP risk mitigation company RPX.

Rockstar Consortium Logo


The sale will see RPX pay some $900 million for more than 4,000 patents, according to the Wall Street Journal. It will include "the bulk" of Rockstar's portfolio, though it remains unclear which patents will be held back and how they will be disposed of.

As part of the agreement, Rockstar will also end all ongoing litigation, including suits against South Korean firms Samsung and LG, Taiwan's HTC, and China's Huawei.

RPX is a publicly-traded patent consortium that purchases and licenses patents on behalf of its members — which include Google and Cisco, among others — who can then leverage the portfolio to defend themselves against infringement allegations. RPX has pledged not to use the cache for offensive action.

"This is the biggest syndicate of its kind and its formation proves that companies can actually collaborate in...cooperative licensing at scale," RPX CEO John Amster said in a statement to the Journal.

Rockstar's partners paid $4.5 billion for over 6,000 Nortel patents in 2011, divvying up 2,000 of the most important patents among themselves and leaving Rockstar to work out licensing deals for the remainder. The patents assigned directly to the partners are not included in the sale to RPX.