Apple, Dell and Sony named to Bluetooth patent suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple, Dell, Sony and five other technology companies were recently added to a lawsuit over Bluetooth patents, threatening the use of the wireless communication standard in millions of devices, Bloomberg is reporting.



According to the financial news network, Washington Research Foundation is accusing the companies of infringing on four patents covering technology that lets users exchange data among mobile phones, personal computers and other devices without using cables.



The non-profit foundation, which originally sued Matsushita, Samsung, and Nokia in a Seattle federal court back in December, tacked on the PC manufacturers earlier this month. At the same time, Logitech, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, and Plantronics were also named to the suit.



WRF's complaint is said to specifically target products that contain chips made by CSR Plc., which is reported to be using the Bluetooth technology without permission. Chipmakers such as Broadcom, which hold licenses from the foundation, will not be named in the suit, Bloomberg said.



In a statement released January, Cambridge, England-based CSR said the suit was without merit and vowed to defend its products rigorously.



Both Apple and Dell built Bluetooth into their personal computer systems several years ago as a way to link wireless devices and cut the chord on peripherals through Bluetooth wireless keyboards and mice. Meanwhile, Bloomberg cites the Washington-based Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which says more than 1 billion devices worldwide are equipped with Bluetooth technology.



With its suit, WRF is reportedly seeking monetary damages and a court order barring the sale of products that use its patented technology. CSR in January countersued the foundation, court papers show.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    gee4orcegee4orce Posts: 165member
    I don't understand how they can sue companies that use CSR chips in their products. How can the consumers (Dell, Apple, et. al in this case) be culpable for decisions and actions made at a supplier (CSR) ?



    It's just bizarre ! It's like being prosecuted for buying stolen goods when you bought them in good faith and didn't know that they were stolen.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    Yeah, NPO my ass. Also, I would seriously doubt that the judge in the case would ever require the discontinuation of use for all the bluetooth devices made by these companies. There would be A LOT of unhappy people around the world.
  • Reply 3 of 25
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    I hope WRF gets sued out of existence. They're obviously out for a lot of money that they couldn't get from legitimately licensing their patents. These latter suits should be thrown out. It's effectively doubling the legal action first for the chips that are made then when they're used. Pick one or the other, but not both. Damn lawyers at work again. Just more billable hours for them.



    BTW, it's "cut the cord," not "cut the chord." I don't think I've ever heard of "chordless" devices.
  • Reply 4 of 25
    wtfkwtfk Posts: 47member
    Patent law is from the devil.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    I'm confused, what is WFR's relationship with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group who licenses the technology? Shouldn't *they* be the ones suing?
  • Reply 6 of 25
    festefeste Posts: 17member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post


    BTW, it's "cut the cord," not "cut the chord." I don't think I've ever heard of "chordless" devices.



    They're called "violins."\
  • Reply 7 of 25
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post


    I'm confused, what is WFR's relationship with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group who licenses the technology? Shouldn't *they* be the ones suing?



    They've probably got some overly generic patents that they've noticed could be applied to Bluetooth. I'm sure that the Bluetooth SIG did patent checks to ensure all required patent holders were a member or had licensed their property so that something that could make money was developed and thus there should have been a central point of licensing for the system. This is where CSR would have received their license I imagine.



    However they could have a pertinent patent. Normally in such a case they would approach CSR and inform them of the patent and arranged a licensing deal. So I imagine that the terms were unacceptable (i.e., Bluetooth makes a lot of money, we want unreasonable terms) so they said 'no'. And they sued.



    I guess the lawyers will sort it all out in the end. It won't fix patent law though.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feste View Post


    They're called "violins."\



    I was going to say clarinets... but...
  • Reply 9 of 25
    shookstershookster Posts: 113member
    Er... can a non profit organisation sue for a monetary value? Is that legal?
  • Reply 10 of 25
    deapeajaydeapeajay Posts: 909member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post


    They've probably got some overly generic patents that they've noticed could be applied to Bluetooth. I'm sure that the Bluetooth SIG did patent checks to ensure all required patent holders were a member or had licensed their property so that something that could make money was developed and thus there should have been a central point of licensing for the system. This is where CSR would have received their license I imagine.



    However they could have a pertinent patent. Normally in such a case they would approach CSR and inform them of the patent and arranged a licensing deal. So I imagine that the terms were unacceptable (i.e., Bluetooth makes a lot of money, we want unreasonable terms) so they said 'no'. And they sued.



    I guess the lawyers will sort it all out in the end. It won't fix patent law though.



    Ok, i guess that makes sense \



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shookster View Post


    Er... can a non profit organisation sue for a monetary value? Is that legal?







    You know non-profit organizations need money too. They have to pay their employees and costs of staying in business just like everyone else. If it were illegal for them to make money there wouldn't BE any non-profit organizations!
  • Reply 11 of 25
    g-sping-spin Posts: 1member
    B-Tooth's been around for how many years now? Sounds like a Patent Troll in Not-For-Profit clothing.



    Smelly.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:

    The non-profit foundation, ...



    And how much "profit" would they get out of winning a suit such as this? Gotta love non-profits lining their pockets with green.



    Quote:

    WRF's complaint is said to specifically target products that contain chips made by CSR Plc., which is reported to be using the Bluetooth technology without permission. Chipmakers such as Broadcom, which hold licenses from the foundation, will not be named in the suit, Bloomberg said.



    If you want to stop something cut it off at it's head. So by WRF's logic then by suing all these companies that use this CSR product they imply such companies knew about this supposed patent infringement by CSR and went ahead anyways and purchased said products? If a company offers a product my guess is that NONE of the companies purchasing it deconstructs the entire thing and evaluates "did they infringe this patent, did they infringe that patent, did they infringe this patent, did they infringe that patent?" "Oh, they infringed this patent. Sorry, we can't use your product." That would be ludicrous.
  • Reply 13 of 25
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post




    You know non-profit organizations need money too. They have to pay their employees and costs of staying in business just like everyone else. If it were illegal for them to make money there wouldn't BE any non-profit organizations!



    Depends on how much they're asking. If they're going to be paying their employees a million dollars a week they aren't really a non-profit organization.



  • Reply 14 of 25
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    I'm lost on why they aren't going after the chip maker instead of those that integrate the chip into a product. Oh, that's right, money.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feste View Post


    They're called "violins."\



    Nice!
  • Reply 16 of 25
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post


    I was going to say clarinets... but...



    Better!
  • Reply 17 of 25
    porchlandporchland Posts: 478member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by justflie View Post


    Yeah, NPO my ass. Also, I would seriously doubt that the judge in the case would ever require the discontinuation of use for all the bluetooth devices made by these companies. There would be A LOT of unhappy people around the world.



    It wouldn't happen that way. If injunctive were awarded, the judge would simply order Apple and the others to stop selling products with the infringing technology. And that's probably not going to happen.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post


    I was going to say clarinets... but...



    try bagpipes instead...



    But seriously, folks, this seems like nothing less than a shakedown. Is there a link to the actual lawsuit?
  • Reply 19 of 25
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post


    They've probably got some overly generic patents that they've noticed could be applied to Bluetooth.

    I guess the lawyers will sort it all out in the end. It won't fix patent law though.



    In that case there is probably a much greater chance that their patents might be nullified through discovery of prior-art.



    The Patent system is so utterly sick it should just be abolished. I knew the whole patent system was terminally ill when they started patenting genes, compounds derived from nature, sequences of DNA and suchlike.



    Totally F'ng lunacy - naked greed of biblical prortions.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gee4orce View Post


    I don't understand how they can sue companies that use CSR chips in their products. How can the consumers (Dell, Apple, et. al in this case) be culpable for decisions and actions made at a supplier (CSR) ?



    It's just bizarre ! It's like being prosecuted for buying stolen goods when you bought them in good faith and didn't know that they were stolen.



    Maybe it should go all the way, if I buy a shoe and the manufacturer does not have a license for a particular patent, maybe those of us who buy the shoes should be named also and have to defend ourself. Maybe if they are sport shoes and we play bbaseball, the baseball club should also be named.



    Wow this is perfect.... I so wish sometimes I become a lawyer.
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