Dolby says BlackBerry, PlayBook violate patents

The audio company is suing Research In Motion for allegedly using its audio compression technology in its phones and tablet without proper licensing.

Dolby claims the BlackBerry and PlayBook both infringe on audio compression and streaming patents it owns.
Dolby claims the BlackBerry and PlayBook both infringe on audio compression and streaming patents it owns. Josh P. Miller/CNET

Dolby has filed a lawsuit against Research In Motion for patent infringement, the audio technology company announced today.

Dolby is suing the maker of the BlackBerry in the U.S. and Germany for using "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."

Dolby asserts that it owns patents covering the technology used in RIM's BlackBerry smartphones and new tablet, the PlayBook, and claims "all other major" smartphone makers have agreed to licenses.

Dolby is asking the Northern California U.S. District Court and the District Court of Mannheim, Germany for monetary damages and for an order to stop the sales of the products that allegedly violate its patents in each country.

The two companies had apparently up until recently been negotiating licensing fees.

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

RIM said it does not comment on pending litigation.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.


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