updated 10:40 am EDT, Wed June 15, 2011
Dolby sues RIM over BlackBerry audio compression
Dolby on Wednesday sued RIM both in Northern California and Germany for allegedly violating its audio patents. The surround audio creator claimed that the BlackBerry smartphone lineup and the BlackBerry PlayBook were all copying Dolby compression technology. "All other" companies had already paid for the licenses, Dolby said which was used in formats like ultra-dense HE AAC audio.
The company claimed that a lawsuit was its "last resort" after RIM turned down paying royalties. It threatened a permanent ban on BlackBerry devices if the two sides didn't come to a settlement or a court-mandated royalty deal.
RIM hadn't responded to the lawsuit but was expected to defend itself in court.
Audio patents are a common issue for mobile devices, particularly with AAC where licensing groups such as MPEG-LA are regularly involved. It's unclear why RIM would refuse to pay, though it might be hoping for lower rates rather than arguing it's not using Dolby processing.