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Dolby sues RIM over alleged patent infringement, seeks injunction in 7.1 surround

Amar Toor, @amartoo

There's a new patent war brewing on both sides of the Atlantic, now that Dolby has filed a set of lawsuits against RIM. At issue is the audio compression technology RIM uses in its BlackBerry phones and PlayBook tablets. Dolby claims this intellectual property is protected under patents that several other smartphone makers have already licensed, and that RIM should be forced to do the same. The company's lawsuits, filed yesterday in both the US and Germany, seek financial damages and an injunction that would stop all sales of allegedly infringing products. RIM declined to comment on the suit, but we'll be sure to keep you posted as the battle unfolds. Head past the break for Dolby's press release.

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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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