In 2011, Apple collaborated with Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericcson and Sony and paid a total $4.5 billion rights to old Nortel patents. To do this they created the company Rockstar, which Apple is the $2.6 billion majority share owner. The purpose was to attempt to band together and lay siege to Google. In fact, previous Apple CEO Steve Job’s vowed “thermonuclear war” against Google.
So perhaps it is because of Google’s current CEO Tim Cook, who seems to have a bit more pragmatic approach, that Apple has decided to raise the white flag at patent war. Despite the war it started, it has decided to put aside patent tactics that have since costed the smartphone industry billions of dollars.
Apple’s decision comes only after the court order which a federal judge agreed to hear out Rockstar’s patent lawsuit against Google. The final settlement is to be determined December 29, and it will be over a year since the initial patent lawsuit began. Rockstar launched patent lawsuits against seven companies including HTC, Huawei and Samsung, all Android devices. Rockstar threatened more lawsuits, until Google filed their own lawsuit last Christmas.
This shift in policy, just in time for the new year, seems to suggest that not only is Apple ending it’s lawsuit against Google, but in fact it will be attempting to shift it’s policies on patents altogether. Court filings show settlements with other patent disputes with other companies, such as Time Warner Cable.
Bear in mind that earlier this year, a bipartisan bill attempting to address the patent system failed in the Senate earlier this spring. However, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), is will re-address the issue in 2015.