(Adds background on case, quote from ruling)
By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO, April 17 A U.S. judge on Thursday
rejected a request by patent consortium Rockstar to transfer
patent litigation from Google Inc's home turf in
California to Texas, according to a court ruling.
Rockstar, which counts Apple Inc as an investor,
outbid Google and bought thousands of former Nortel patents from
Nortel's bankruptcy in 2011 for $4.5 billion. Last year, the
consortium sued several handset manufacturers whose phones
operate on Google's Android operating system, which fiercely
competes with Apple mobile products.
Rockstar filed its lawsuit in a Texas federal court, which
is generally viewed as a friendly forum for patent owners. In a
bid to move the litigation to Northern California, where its
headquarters are, Google asked U.S. District Judge Claudia
Wilken in December to rule that it hadn't infringed the patents
Rockstar sued over in Texas.
Rockstar filed papers to dismiss Google's California case,
arguing that the proper jurisdiction is in Texas.
However, in a ruling on Thursday, Wilken wrote that Apple
and Rockstar are sufficiently linked for the case to remain in
California. Apple's Silicon Valley headquarters a short distance
"Google demonstrates a direct link between Apple's unique
business interests, separate and apart from mere profitmaking,"
For instance, Rockstar's patent litigation "advances Apple's
interest in interfering with Google's Android business," Wilken
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. Representatives
for Rockstar and Google could not immediately be reached.
The case is Google Inc v. Rockstar Consortium et al, U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California, No.
(Reporting by Dan Levine. Editing by Andre Grenon)