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Sunday, January 07, 2007
Bluetooth patent issues dog Nokia, Samsung, Panasonic
Patent issues have pushed mobile handset makers Nokia, Samsung Electronics and Panasonic who use bluetooth in their phones into a fix.

The famed Washington Research Foundation (WRF) is suing the makers of mobile handsets for using Bluetooth technology, which WRF claims infringes its patents.

WRF is an organization that was founded in 1981 to assist universities and other nonprofit research institutions in Washington with the commercialization of their technologies. Its other jobs include enforcing patents, as well as providing various support measures.

The Foundation, on December 21, had filed a complaint at the US Western District Court of Washington State at Seattle on behalf of the University of Washington, alleging that Nokia Corp, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Panasonic, as allegedly infringing four patents sold under the Bluetooth name. The three companies have sold handsets and devices in the United States using Bluetooth chips from Cambridge, UK-based CSR Plc, which allegedly uses technology that infringes the University's radio frequency receiver patents, the WRF alleged.

Among the violated patents is related to research carried by Edwin Suominen when he was an undergraduate student at the University. Suominen received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1995, and he was awarded a patent in 1999 for a simplified high-frequency broadband tuner and tuning method.

Meanwhile silicon developer CSR said that it has a copy of the complaint, and it is being reviewed . CSR has more than a 50 per cent market share of the Bluetooth global chip market and its chips are used by Nokia, Samsung and Panasonic in their mobile and consumer devices.

Though the WRF has clearly stated that it is not targeting CSR saying that the chipmaker was not aware that its chip would be used in the US where the patent is enforceable.

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