Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit (updated)

Summary:Research In Motion's problems just don't seem to end. Now Dolby Laboratories is filing a lawsuit against BlackBerry's maker.

Research In Motion's problems just don't seem to end. Now Dolby Laboratories is filing a lawsuit against BlackBerry's maker.

According to the Associated Press, Dolby filed lawsuits against RIM in both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as well as in the District Court of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany.

Financial and logistical terms of the lawsuit have been kept relatively under wraps, but apparently Dolby is seeking to halt sales of RIM products (which RIM has technically already done themselves without trying), and  Dolby wants some payback in terms of financial damages.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Dolby claims that its technology "has been incorporated into an international standard that is widely used in smartphones, tablets and other devices to play back music and other digitalized audio that has been compressed."

RIM has not announced anything publicly in regards to this particular legal dispute. The Ontario, Canada-based company is also announcing quarterly earnings results on Thursday, which most tech industry watchers expect will be rather dim - largely due to the less-than-satisfactory launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in April.

It's also unlikely that RIM will mention or address questions pertaining to Dolby, but we can only hope.

UPDATE: Dolby has issued an official press release with a few more specifics as to the technology in question, but the San Francisco-based company remained mum as to specifics about financial damages. Here's a snippet:

RIM employs Dolby’s patented technologies in its Blackberry smart phones and Playbook tablet devices, without having obtained licenses from Dolby, the lawsuits say. All other major smart phone makers have agreed to license the Dolby technologies which are the subject of this litigation.

Dolby’s patented technologies, which have been incorporated into the international standard known as High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (“HE AAC”), provide the core of HE AAC. Demonstrating the value of the Dolby technologies, HE AAC is widely used in consumer electronics devices such as smart phones, portable music players, and computer tablets to play back music and other digitized audio that has been compressed to less than 10% of its original digital file size.


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


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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