Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit (updated)

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.

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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.

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

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7 comments
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  • Soooooooo...

    Is this just the tip of another patent trolling iceberg by another company? The article said that their technology was incorporated into the international standard used in tablets, etc, so are other companies going to be in the crosshairs too?
    God I'm sick of our broken patent system...
    Zorched
    • RE: Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit

      @Zorched
      You're so right. Look at the codec hell we are in. Imagine if Internet protocols were patented - nobody would bother. It is time standards bodies woke up and refused to accept any patented technology submitted as a standard. If you want the kudos of having your invention adopted as a standard you can't at the same time keep it exclusive to licensees. Unless, of course, you are a greedy cynic ...
      PassingWind
    • RE: Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit

      @Zorched
      Well...I'm not sure it's exactly "patent trolling" per se. I think it's well known in the industry that HE-AAC is encumbered by patents and device makers and software companies are required to license HE-AAC decoders in the same way that commercial use of MP3 decoding requires a license from Fraunhofer.

      But I had no idea that Dolby actually held any patents around HE-AAC....thought Nero and Coding Technologies held all those patents. But evidently Dolby does hold a related patent to Pulse decoders which extend HE-AAC. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Efficiency_Advanced_Audio_Coding
      jtbowerse@...
      • RE: Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit

        @jtbowerse@... Coding technologies was bought out by Dolby, but you should have all the patents you need via the VIA Licensing pool for Unified AAC inc HE-AAC. It's a pain but as it should be easy to license I don't see the problem.
        Penti
    • RE: Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit

      @Zorched The article says everyone else has already licensed it except for RIM.
      jgm@...
  • RE: Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit

    Dolby is far from a Troll. It is one of the most bleeding edge technology audio oriented companies on the planet. If other companies have been paying for the use of such patents, those that have not are..in trouble. Some lawyer must have missed up on this one all right. Ouch.
    nfiertel
  • RE: Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit

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