Bluetooth, the protocol for connecting nearby devices wirelessly, is at the heart of — what else? — a patent infringement case, and some of the industry’s biggest names may be headed to court.
The Washington Research Foundation is suing Nokia, Samsung and Matsushita over their alleged use of non-licensed Bluetooth chips. The group, which holds certain patents related to Bluetooth chipsets, filed a complaint in Federal Court in the Western District of Washington alleging infringement by the companies.
The dispute centers around chips manufactured by CSR. For its part, CSR is disputing the allegations. Another chip company, Broadcom, is a WSR licensee.
Bluetooth was invented by Ericsson, which later made the technology open source. The WSR patents are the work of a former engineering student, Ed Suominen, who later gave the rights to the patents to University of Washington. WSR is a foundation set up to manage patents granted to UW.
It’s too early to tell how this will end up, but Bluetooth is still emerging, and hurdles like these don’t help in getting the technology established.