By 20 March 2012 | Categories: news


Patent lawsuits have come to the fore in the world of tech of late, with major technology firms  such as Apple and Samsung fighting it out in court. The latest patent lawsuit has been filed by  Varia Holdings, which is suing both Korean tech giant Samsung as well as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM).  

Varia filed separate lawsuits on Thursday (15 March) with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, claiming that both these firms are infringing upon its “emoticon input method and apparatus” patent. The company is seeking an undisclosed amount of monetary damages, along with injunction relief, against both RIM and Samsung.  

According to CNet, Varia stated that its patent provides it with ownership of the concept of pop-up emoticon menus. This enables mobile phone users to insert graphical symbols including a happy face and sad face into their messages, by choosing these from a list as opposed to  typing out each individual character that makes up the symbol.

The company lists numerous Samsung mobile devices in the lawsuit, including the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy SII, whilst the list of RIM’s smartphones listed include the BlackBerry Bold, Curve, Storm and Pearl ranges.

“It is known that for many users, their email and instant messaging communications (also refered to as textual or non-verbal communications) often involve the use of emoticons, such as 'smiling face' or the 'sad face'. However, few email or instant messaging applications offer any assistance to a user to enter and use emoticons in their communications,” the Varia patent reads (pg 12).

“Some instant messaging applications offer the minimal assistance of converting or replacing a handful of widely used emoticon forming sequences of characters to corresponding graphical symbols,” it continues.

For example, when the characters ':' (colon), '=' (equal sign) and ')' (right parenthesis) are successfully entered, some instant messaging applications automatically replace the entered characters with the graphical symbol ':-)'."

In other patent related news, the Apple vs. Motorola Mobility ITC (International Trade Commission) battle seems to have been resolved A full panel of judges from the US ITC have upheld a former ruling, which found that Motorola did not infringe upon certain Apple patents.


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