Canada-based telecom Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold its biggest asset—a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies—at an auction in 2011.
Google bid for the patents, but it didn't get them. Instead, the patents went to a group of competitors—Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony—operating under the name "Rockstar Bidco." The companies together bid the shocking sum of $4.5 billion.
Patent insiders knew that the Nortel portfolio was the patent equivalent of a nuclear stockpile: dangerous in the wrong hands, and a bit scary even if held by a "responsible" party.
This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for—launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1.
Well, if the auction was done in Canada or the U.S., the purchase was ILLEGAL and, as such, is subject to the will of Canada (if in Canada) or the original company (if in the U.S.), as far as I know my law.
This is because Rockstar Bidco is illegal - as it is a blatant alliance of various companies in the same field made to destroy their competition's ability to compete - under the Competition Act(s).
And I don't care how much money and power those companies have, they're screwed if they go against Google and Android.