The lawsuits seek recovery of financial damages and injunctions to halt sales of “many RIM products” that Dolby claims infringes its patents.
Founded in 1965 by Ray Dolby, Dolby Laboratories specializes in audio noise reduction and audio encoding/compression technology.
According to Dolby, RIM infringes patents covering digital audio compression technologies which allow manufacturers and consumers to provide audio while using limited amounts of transmission and/or storage space for such audio.
Dolby says its technologies provide the core of HE AAC (short for ‘High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding’), an international standard that it says is used in a ton of consumer electronics devices such as smartphones, portable music players and tablets to play back music that has been compressed to less than 10 percent of its original digital file size.
In a press release, Dolby posits that the Canadian hardware and software maker employs its patented technologies in its Blackberry handsets and PlayBook tablet device, without having obtained licenses, adding that “all other major smartphone makers” have agreed to license the technologies that are the subject of this litigation.
Dolby recently shared financial results for its second quarter of fiscal 2011, reporting total revenue of $250 million. Licensing revenue was responsible for a staggering 86 percent, or roughly $215 million, of that revenue.
“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 wording suggests Dolby has been engaged in negotiations with Research In Motion for a while now, talks which have apparently not materialized in any patent licensing agreements.
One lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The other, German lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Mannheim.
We’ve reached out to RIM but haven’t heard back yet. We’ll update as soon as we learn more.