UPDATE 2-Dolby sues RIM over audio patents

Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:31am EDT

* Dolby technologies compress audio for personal gadgets

* Says all other major smartphone makers already licensed (Adds details, background)

TORONTO, June 15 (Reuters) - Dolby Laboratories (DLB.N) has filed a lawsuit against Research In Motion RIM.TO, alleging the BlackBerry maker used Dolby's audio compression technologies in its smartphones and PlayBook tablets without proper licenses.

The lawsuits, filed in the United States and Germany, seek financial damages for past use and injunctions to halt sales of unlicensed BlackBerry phones and PlayBook tablets.

"Litigation was regrettably our last resort after RIM declined to pay for the use of Dolby's technology," San Francisco-based Dolby's general counsel, Andy Sherman, said in a statement on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for RIM declined to comment on the litigation, citing company policy.

Dolby said its patented technologies provide the core of an audio compression standard widely used in smartphones, portable music players and tablet computers, allowing them to offer high-quality audio using limited transmission and storage space.

It said all other major smartphone makers have licensed the technology from Dolby.

Patent fights are increasingly common among technology companies since Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Google (GOOG.O) expanded quickly into smartphones at the expense of older players.

RIM, along with Apple, is awaiting a final judgment due this month from the U.S. International Trade Commission on whether the companies camera-enabled phones infringe a patent belonging to Eastman Kodak EK.N related to a method for previewing images. [ID:nN25292900]

Meanwhile, Nokia won a licensing victory over Apple on Tuesday and Google is the frontrunner to buy thousands of patents from Canada's bankrupt Nortel Networks (NRTLQ.PK). [ID:nLDE75D032] [ID:nLDE73401C]

Shares of RIM, which reports quarterly results on Thursday, were flat at a two-year low of $35.70 on Nasdaq on Wednesday morning. Dolby's stock dipped 0.7 percent at $43.81 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Peter Galloway)


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