In the latest of a series of patent infringement lawsuits in the telecommunications industry, Research In Motion has fallen foul of patents owned by Varia Holdings LLC.
The company is suing BlackBerry-maker RIM for infringing on a patent regarding the use of “Emoticon Input Method and Apparatus”, simply known as emoticons, which play a big part of RIM’s BlackBerry platform.
Part of the original patent states:
A mobile communication device having an input key that, when pressed by the user while in text mode, results in the display of a list of emoticons for selection by the user. By displaying a list of emoticons, a more user friendly environment is created through which users may employ emoticons in their communications.
Varia Holdings had this patent approved during January 2007, and given the text quoted above, it’s pretty clear that RIM’s platform and devices fall foul. Varia Holdings has requested that sales of devices infringing the patent (i.e. any device capable of emoticons) are stopped and that RIM compensate them for the infringement. The company filed the complaint against RIM on March 15th but so far, no judge has been assigned and no date set for a decision.