Three companies face complaint for Bluetooth patent infringement
Nokia, Samsung Electronics and Panasonic are facing complaints filed by the Washington Research Foundation regarding the use of a Bluetooth technology without paying royalties to the institute, which markets the technology from the University of Washington.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit states that Bluetooth-based computers, cellphones and headsets from the three companies have violated four patents, including a patent awarded to Edwin Suominen in 1999 for "simplified high-frequency broadband tuner and tuning method". The foundation now holds the four patents.
In another report, Reuters stated that the claim covers Bluetooth devices sold or used in the United States.
However, implications for the standard, said CCS Insight consultant Ben Wood, could be serious if the foundation's claim is successful.
"A standard which everyone assumes to be royalty-free is now at risk of becoming a chargeable element inside mobile phones and other devices," he said.
According to Reuters, the complaint also targets products with Bluetooth chips from British chipmaker CSR which was not sued by the institute because its sales are not made directly in the United States.
Meanwhile, U.S.-based Broadcom is spared from the lawsuit because according to the Washington Research Foundation, the company has acquired license to use the radio technology.