Apple, Microsoft-backed Rockstar to buy patents for $900 million

Patent risk management company RPX Corp said that it would buy patents owned by Apple Inc and other firms for $900 million, helping to further scale back lawsuits over smartphone technology.

The sale consists of the more than 4,000 patents still owned by Rockstar Consortium, which was formed from the $4.5 billion purchase of about 6,000 Nortel Network Corp patents in 2011 following its bankruptcy.

The deal puts an end to litigation started last year by Rockstar against several handset manufacturers whose phones operate on Google Inc's Android operating system, which fiercely competes with Apple mobile products.

While the sale price is far less than what Rockstar had paid for the original 6,000 patents, the most valuable 2,000 of them had already been distributed to consortium members, RPX chief executive John Amster said.

The deal is the latest to help calm the protracted smartphone legal battles. Earlier this year, Apple and Google agreed to drop all lawsuits between them, and Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd did the same for litigation outside of the United States.