Dolby, RIM drop lawsuits, shake hands on licensing deal

Summary:BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and Dolby have settled an ongoing patent infringement case, though financial terms were not disclosed.

Dolby Laboratories said that it has withdrawn its lawsuits against Research in Motion, in a patent infringement fight, after the BlackBerry maker struck a licensing deal to use Dolby's technologies.

Earlier this year, Dolby sued Research in Motion for using its audio compression software in BlackBerry phones and PlayBook tablets without licensing the technologies. Lawsuits and injunctions were filed in the United States and Germany to ban the phones and tablets from being sold.

Though the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, Dolby has dropped its suits and the companies have shaken hands on what could have been a serious set back to an already struggling Research in Motion.

Dolby technologies are used in a variety of softwares and hardware to provide core audio compression standards to smartphones, tablets and portable and static music players.

Research in Motion reportedly obtained its license though Via Licensing, a Dolby subsidiary, that licenses patents relating to the AAC standard.

BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets both allow MP3 and AAC playback, which allows the playback of digital audio to be compressed to less than 10 percent of its file size.

Nearly a dozen major companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google and HTC, are involved in a series of major patent infringement cases, which seem to all revolve around the Android operating system.

Though Dolby and the BlackBerry maker have now settled the out-of-the-ordinary case from the other ongoing conflicts, it now settles at least one fraction of the total patent infringement cases that see no sign of ending.

BlackBerrys and PlayBook tablets, which have been able to run AAC content for years, will result in no changes being made to the software. Had Dolby won its case, it would have had major implications on the QNX-based PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry phone operating system, both of which heavily relies on AAC for audio compression.

Topics: Mobile OS, BlackBerry, Hardware, Laptops, Legal, Mobility, Security, Tablets

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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