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CSR slams US Bluetooth patent case

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A US University has filed a patent suit against Nokia, Samsung and Matsushita over the Bluetooth chips in their mobile phones. CSR, the Cambridge, UK supplier of the Bluetooth chips used in the phones, promised to defend its products "vigorously", slamming the legal suit as "without merit in relation to CSR's Bluetooth chips".

The suit has been brought in a US district court by the Washington Research Foundation (WRF), a West-coast organization that helps the Washington State University market and sell its IP and technology.

CSR is not targeted by the lawsuit, but the action claims its chips used in handsets from Nokia, Samsung and Panasonic use technology that infringes the University's radio frequency patents.

WRF's filing follows the standard template for alleging patent violation, saying: "Defendants have manufactured, used, imported into the United States, sold and offered for sale devices which, or the use of which, infringes at least the '963' patent."

This is the latest claim against Bluetooth, and appears to center on the patent awarded to University of Washington scientist Edwin Suominen in 1999 for devising a "simplified high-frequency broadband tuner and tuning method".

WRF is seeking damages from the cell phone makers for using the University's technology without paying royalties. Bluetooth is used in millions of devices, with more shipped each week and Nintendo's Wii being the latest piece of consumer hardware to adopt the technology.

By focusing on the US, WRF's action could potentially affect to a fifth of the World's cell phones. ®

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