CSR rocked by US lawsuit
Three major mobile phone manufacturers and customers of CSR have been sued for patent violation regarding Bluetooth technology.The Washington Research Foundation, which markets the technology for the University of Washington claims that the chips used by Nokia, Samsung and Panasonic violate the patent for "simplified high frequency broadband tuner and tuning method" awarded to UW research scientist Edwin Suominen in 1999.
The writ is against the customers of CSR specifically, and does not apply to those of its US rival, Broadcom. According to the University of Washington, Broadcom had acquired a license to use the technology. CSR has avoided being targetted by the suit as the firm doesn't sell its chips directly into the US.
Bluetooth was developed by Ericsson and four other companies as a wire replacement in the mid 1990's and was made available at no cost through the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). It has since been released in millions of gadgets requiring wireless connectivity.
The technology has been relatively slow to catch on in the US which accounts for 20 per cent of the world's Bluetooth market compared with 30 to 40 per cent in Western Europe. It is believed that the writ, if successful, could pose serious problems for the continued growth of Bluetooth.
Shares in CSR, which commands a 50 per cent market share in Bluetooth microchips fell 6.6 per cent following the news, slumping to a low of 616p before climbing back to 640p The company's shares have fallen sharply since the Summer, when its shares were worth over 1550p following a stream of disappointing news.