Bluetooth chip market leader CSR has reached agreement with the Washington Research Foundation to settle a patent lawsuit over its Bluetooth chipsets.
The WRF was founded in 1981 to assist universities and other nonprofit research institutions in the state of Washington with the commercialization of their technologies. Its remit also includes enforcing any patents.
In early January 2007, the WRF had announced it was suing two of the world’s largest makers of mobile handsets for using Bluetooth technology. On behalf of the University of Washington, it filed a complaint at the US Western District Court of Washington State at Seattle, citing Nokia, Samsung Electronics, and Panasonic as allegedly infringing four patents sold under the Bluetooth name.
The WRF claimed the three companies had sold handsets and devices in the US using Bluetooth chips from Cambridge, UK-based CSR, which allegedly used technology that infringed the University’s radio frequency receiver patents.
Specifically, one of the violated patents concerns 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.
CSR said that it remains of the view that WRF’s patent infringement suit against its Bluetooth chip is without merit. However, the company felt an early resolution of the lawsuit was in both its own and its customers’ best interests. CSR said it would pay WRF $15m, in return for an undertaking not to sue CSR, its suppliers, customers, or end users.
CSR has more than a 50% market share of the Bluetooth global chip market and its chips are used by Nokia, Samsung, and Panasonic in their mobile and consumer devices. CSR rival Broadcom Corp already purchased a license from WRF to cover any consumer electronic devices that uses its Bluetooth chips.
Shares in CSR fell 0.36% on the London Stock Exchange to 697 pence ($13.95).