RIM, Dolby arrive at settlement on patent dispute

The BlackBerry maker has agreed to license advanced audio technologies from Dolby just three months after the companies engaged in a patent battle.

RIM has agreed to license Dolby's technology in its smartphones and tablet.
RIM has agreed to license Dolby's technology in its smartphones and tablet. Josh P. Miller/CNET

Research In Motion has ended a patent battle with Dolby and agreed to license advanced audio technologies from the company, the companies announced yesterday.

Dolby in June filed suit against RIM in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, as well as in the Mannheim District Court in Germany, claiming the BlackBerry maker was violating patents it holds on "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."

In its lawsuit, Dolby said that "all other major" handset makers have licensed its audio technology, but at that point, RIM had yet to do so with its BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablet.

According to Dolby, RIM has now obtained a license to its audio technology through Dolby's Via Licensing Corporation, a subsidiary that licenses patents related to High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE AAC). HE AAC is widely used in the digital-audio space, thanks to its ability to efficiently compress content to save storage space.

The terms of the deal that the companies struck were not disclosed, but Dolby executive vice president and general counsel, Andy Sherman, said that his company is "pleased to welcome RIM into Dolby's family of mobile technology licensees."

Neither Dolby nor RIM immediately responded to CNET's request for comment.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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