Dolby sues RIM for patent infringement, looks to halt BlackBerry sales

Dolby announced on Wednesday that it has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Waterloo, Canada-based Research In Motion in the U.S. and in Germany. The suit seeks the recovery of financial damages resulting from RIM’s infringing products, and it also looks to halt sales of multiple BlackBerry devices. The patents in question cover “highly efficient digital audio compression technologies” that minimize storage space occupied by high quality audio files. Dolby claims that RIM uses these technologies in its BlackBerry smartphones and its PlayBook tablet, but it does not pay Dolby licensing fees as all other major manufacturers do. “Litigation was regrettably our last resort after RIM declined to pay for the use of Dolby’s technology,” Dolby EVP and general counsel Andy Sherman said in a statement. “We have a duty to protect our intellectual property.” Dolby’s full press release follows below.

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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