RIM again caught in litigation headlights

With the $600M check Research in Motion had to write to NTP in 2006 for patent infringement still smarting, RIM has been sued by Dolby in the U.S. and Germany for alleged infringement of patents covering digital audio compression technologies.

In a press release issued late last week, Dolby stated, “All other major smart phone makers have agreed to license the Dolby technologies which are the subject of this litigation.”

BVR’s IPV Blog has dived deeply into how organizations that are willing and have the wherewithal to protect their IP increase the value of that IP. Dolby’s second quarter financial report lays out the importance of IP to Dolby’s very existence:

Fiscal Year-to-Date Revenue (April 1, 2011)

Product Sales: $72.4M

Service Sales: $17.6M

License Sales: $402.8M

Of the reported $435.1M of gross margin, over 90%(!) is attributed to licensing revenue.

In pre-lawsuits discussions, how could RIM misunderstand Dolby’s intent or commitment? What’s more, though the US Supreme Court eliminated one lever (easy post trial injunctions against the sale of the offending products) in eBay v. MercExchange, the memory of that threat in the NTP case has to be clear to RIM, and the parallel lawsuit in Germany carries with it that same threat. Dolby’s press release specifically states the company is looking for both damages and “injunctions.”