Apple-backed Rockstar consortium agrees to sell bulk of patents, end lawsuits

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The Apple-backed Rockstar consortium has agreed to sell off more than 4,000 patents from its IP portfolio to RPX Corp. for $900 million. The move will effectively end several high-profile lawsuits filed by Rockstar, and is another sign that patent wars are starting to cool in Silicon Valley.

To that end, it’s worth noting that the $900 million offer is substantially less than the $4.5 billion the consortium paid for the full portfolio just 4 years ago, and that RPX is a San Francisco-based patent clearinghouse, which helps companies protect themselves against patent litigation.

“Peace is breaking out,” said John Amster, the CEO of RPX. “I think people have started to realize that licensing, not litigation, is the best way to make use of patents, and this deal is a significant acknowledgment of that reality.” RPX plans to license its new patents to Google and others.

Rockstar—which includes tech firms Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry and Sony—won a bidding war with Google to purchase 6,000+ patents from the bankrupt Nortel Networks in 2011. That was at the height of patent litigation, and many of these companies have since signed peace treaties.