After a spat over audio compression patents, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion has entered into a licensing agreement with Dolby. The specifics of those licensing costs haven’t been disclosed, though I’m sure it’ll sting less than RIM’s big patent infringement loss against NTP a few years ago.
RIM was apparently infringing on Dolby’s HE AAC technology with on BlackBerry smartphones and the PlayBook tablet. The standard can apparently reduce the size of a file to one-tenth its original, while maintaining twice the quality of a standard 48 kbps MP3. Unfortunately, that relationship doesn’t scale upwards in bitrate, but still, it seems like a solid format for small audio files that would otherwise be pretty low quality.
RIM is still duking it out with Kodak, though that may be on hold until Kodak decides if they’re going to start selling off their patents. The middle-man in charge of handling some of Dolby’s technologies, Via Licensing, also deals with NFC, LTE and WiMAX patent pools, so this very well may not be the last time RIM has to deal with these guys. RIM’s next quarterly results will be announced this Thursday, and I’ll be curious to see how or if this licensing agreement will affect their financial outlook for the immediate future. Is RIM doing well enough to be able to comfortably dole out licensing fees?
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