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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bluetooth Has Patent Woes

First Wi-Fi, now Bluetooth: On the heels of Australian technology agency CSIRO winning a key patent suit against Buffalo Technology over the use of very specific elements of newer Wi-Fi standards, the University of Washington's patent-licensing arm has sued four electronics makers that incorporate Bluetooth chips made by CSR into their products: Nokia, Samsung, and both Matsushita and its subsidiary Panasonic of North America. The Washington Research Foundation has patents created by an undergraduate and assigned to the school that the WRF claims are infringed by CSR chips. WRF has a licensing agreement in place with CSR's competitor, Broadcom. CSR stated today that the claims are without merit. One article says that WRF sued customers because CSR sells chips worldwide, but the customers deliver products specific to the US market that incorporate CSR chips. The patents were apparently developed in the mid-1990s, according to The Seattle Times, but one of the patents in dispu te was not filed until 2003; it was granted in Oct. 2006. The Bluetooth SIG's members agreed to cross-license technology, but WRF is outside that process.... [more]

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