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Google wins bid on which court to fight Rockstar over patents

A Google logo is seen at the garage where the company was founded on Google's 15th anniversary in Menlo Park, California September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google Inc (GOOGL.O) will fight patent holder Rockstar Consortium in a California court instead of a Texas court that lawyers consider more friendly toward plaintiffs.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday ordered proceedings stayed in Texas over whether handsets made by Samsung Electronics <005930.KS>, HTC Corp (2498.TW), AsuSTEK Computer (2357.TW), LG Electronics <066570.KS> and ZTE Corp <000063.SZ> infringed on Rockstar's patents because they used Google's Android operating system.

Rockstar had filed the lawsuits in a Texas federal court, which is generally viewed as a friendly forum for patent owners. Google counter punched, filing a lawsuit in northern California in which it asked a judge to rule that devices using the Android platform had not infringed the patents cited by Rockstar.

The overlaps led the appeals court to rule that the issue should be decided first in California.

"It is clear that there was no need to proceed with the five Texas actions because the one California action may suffice," the court said. "The record strongly suggests that there will be substantial similarity involving the infringement and invalidity issues in all the suits."

Rockstar, which counts Apple Inc (AAPL.O) as an investor, outbid Google and paid $4.5 billion for thousands of former Nortel Network Corp patents as the networking products supplier went bankrupt in 2011.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Grant McCool)