Despite it being the holiday season, there is little jolliness in Google's legal department. Google has just filed a lawsuit against Rockstar. No, not the game maker of GTA fame. This legal attack is aimed at the Rockstar patent holding company owned jointly by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Sony, and Ericsson. Rockstar has been going after Google and various Android OEMs for patent infringement and Mountain View has apparently had enough.
Rockstar's patents come mostly from the purchase of the Nortel portfolio a few years ago, but Rockstar itself is merely a litigator of patents – it doesn't make anything. In the modern parlance, many would call it a "Patent Troll." Google doesn't use that term in the lawsuit, but it gets close when it alleges Rockstar's backers are engaging in a campaign against Android only to interfere with Google's OEM business relationships. Mountain View's lawyers go on to point out Rockstar's infringement claims only target Android devices made by companies like Samsung and HTC, even when the companies' non-Android products could just as easily have been included.
Google is seeking to protect not just OEMs from legal attacks, but its own flagship products as well. The suit specifically asks the court to rule on whether or not the Nexus devices infringe any of the patents in question. It's a great big mess that's likely to drag on for years before anything is resolved.