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June 15, 2011

Dolby Sues Research in Motion for Alleged Patent Infringement

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Dolby is suing Research In Motion (RIM) for alleged patent infringement, according to media reports.

In the lawsuit, Dolby claims that Blackberry smartphones and Playbook tablets – both made by RIM – improperly used Dolby’s audio compression technology. The technology helps to improve sound quality, according to media reports.

The BlackBerry (News - Alert) Storm, Tour, Pearl, Curve and Torch models are among the phones that improperly use the technology, the suit alleges.

The technology had been patented by Dolby and it was not licensed to RIM, and the company never received royalties from RIM.

The incidents took place in Germany and the United States. The lawsuits were filed in the federal courts of California and in the district court located in Mannheim, Germany, according to The Associated Press.

Dolby wants to receive financial damages and wants the courts to force RIM to stop selling the offending products, The AP said.

“Litigation was regrettably our last resort after RIM declined to pay for the use of Dolby’s technology,” Dolby General Counsel Andy Sherman said a statement that was carried by Bloomberg News. “We have a duty to protect our intellectual property.”

In its legal complaint filed in California federal court, Dolby recalled how it invented “spectral band replication” and “parametric stereo” technology that was “a quantum leap forward in compression efficiency, and which were perfected only after years of research and development,” Bloomberg (News - Alert) News reported.

“To date, RIM has steadfastly refused to execute any license concerning the patents in suit, ignoring … attempts to restart a dialogue with RIM,” Dolby added in the complaint, says Bloomberg News. “At no time has RIM ever suggested that its products do not infringe the patents in suit, nor has it ever asserted that the patents in suit were invalid or unenforceable.”

It was in January that Dolby Laboratories (News - Alert) named Sherman executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of the company, according to TMCnet.

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Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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