Cable companies sue Apple’s Rockstar consortium over patent conspiracy

“A handful of cable companies are suing a coalition of tech firms that controls the rights to more than 4,000 patents,” Julian Hattem reports for The Hill.

“In a document filed with the U.S. District Court for Delaware on Friday, Charter Communications, Suddenlink and other cable firms said that lawsuits and threats from the Rockstar coalition over patent rights it owns ‘have cast a cloud of uncertainty’ over their operations,” Hattem reports. “The cable companies’ complaints echo those of Google, which has accused Rockstar of an aggressive campaign to push its products out of the market.”

“Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion are part of the Rockstar coalition. The cable companies claimed that the group has used the rights it owns to unfairly target other businesses to extract high fees,” Hattem reports. “Rockstar and its subsidiaries have previously sued Time Warner Cable and Google for infringing on its patents.”

Full article here.

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13 Comments

    1. Yep Im actually in the industry (post production) and I think the cable (and don’t forget the satellite companies) are one of the most corrupt oligopolies the world has seen and have strangled content distribution (and therefore production) for years.

      I am a (outspoken) libertarian but I feel Comcast (and others) should be split. No company that controls physical distribution (utility) should be permitted to distribute or produce content as the ability to have another division (cable) “kneecap” or hold hostage competitors (like Comcast has reportedly done with netflix AppleTV & hulu streams) is apparently just too alluring for them.

  1. my cable company charges me around $120.00 per month for a 3-part plan which includes internet, television and telephone. I don’t use the television nor the telephone. who can I sue?

  2. What, you think that just because you bought those patents you own them? And have a right to attempt to prevent competitors from using them without their having to pay fees? WTF? /s

  3. Does anybody know whether these are FRAND patents or ordinary patents ?

    It seems odd that the alleged infringers are not being told exactly which patents are involved. If there isn’t a clear-cut case where a company can be shown to be infringing, then this looks like Rockstar are trying it on.

    Apple has a lot of valuable patents and so do Rockstar. Apple stands to lose out badly if the patent process gets abused by patent holders and infringers are able to demonstrate that patent holders have acted unreasonably or unlawfully.

    There are a lot of influential companies trying to undermine patent protection in the US so that they can rip-off the work of others. Patent holders need to be careful not to give them ammunition for degrading patent protection to the disadvantage of patent holders.

  4. Its no surprise that Rockstar would attempt to obtain an income from the patents they purchased. It is a sad fact of business today that corporations run roughshod over patents issued to competitors. For many years these corporations have relied on their financial strength to deter patent lawsuits. The worm has turned, and infringers are increasingly finding they have to pay.

    Since American corporations operate in an “ethics-free zone” the patent holders must rely on the law. In the end the law will prevail and the infringers will have to behave themselves and cease stealing the IP of others or pay up.

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