Dolby Sues RIM For Patent Infringement, Seeking To Halt Sales Of BlackBerry Devices

Jun 15, 2011
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Dolby Sues RIM For Patent Infringement, Seeking To Halt Sales Of BlackBerry Devices

Dolby announced today that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM). The company claims that RIM has been using digital audio compression technologies that infringe its patents. They are seeking recovery of financial damages and also asking to halt the sales of several BlackBerry devices.

Dolby's patents cover a highly efficient digital audio compression technology that allows manufacturers to provide high quality audio while using extremely limited amounts of transmission and storage space. The suit claims that RIM uses this technology in some of its BlackBerry smartphones and also in the Playbook tablet, but has refused to obtain licenses from Dolby.

The technology is incorporated into the international standard known as High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE AAC), which is widely used in many consumer electronics devices such as smartphones, tablets, and portable music players. However, most all major smartphone makers have agreed to license the Dolby technology, except for RIM.

“Litigation was regrettably our last resort after RIM declined to pay for the use of Dolby’s technology,” said Dolby executive VP Andy Sherman. “We have a duty to protect our intellectual property.”

Press Release:

Dolby Sues Research In Motion for Patent Infringement; Seeks Sales Halt Of Unlicensed Blackberry and Playbook Devices and Monetary Damages For Past Use

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Dolby International, has filed patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany against Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RiMM), a Canadian manufacturer of wireless handset and tablet devices. The lawsuits seek recovery of financial damages and injunctions to halt sales of the many RIM products that infringe Dolby’s patents.

The lawsuits explain that RIM infringes Dolby patents covering highly efficient digital audio compression technologies which allow manufacturers and consumers to provide and enjoy high quality audio while using extremely limited amounts of transmission and/or storage space for such audio. 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.

“Litigation was regrettably our last resort after RIM declined to pay for the use of Dolby’s technology,” said Andy Sherman, executive vice president and general counsel of Dolby. “We have a duty to protect our intellectual property.”

The U.S. lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The German lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany.


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