RIM, Samsung and Facebook accused of patent infringement

RIM, Samsung and Facebook are in hot water after a company grassed them up for alleged patent infringement.

The trio, plus Multiply and Photobucket, have been accused of encroaching on two US patents, which belong to Summit 6 LLC and cover technology used to quickly resize, compress and transmit digital photographs and other media.

The company claims that its employees developed the technology covered in U.S. Patent Numbers 6,895,557 and 7,765,482 during the late 1990s. These patents cover software and methods for pre-processing media, such as digital photographs, before transmission to a remote location.

The company also claims that the patents can  be used for reducing network traffic as well cutting down the traditional space needed for storing digital photos and reprocessing by remote servers.

“For more than 10 years, Summit 6’s groundbreaking technology has been successfully utilised, with permission, by numerous companies around the world, including more than 100 newspapers and online marketplaces in the United States and United Kingdom,” the company said in a statement.

However, its going after RIM and others because it claims that they are using the technology without permission. It claims RIM is doing this to produce and sell devices, while the others are operating websites where digital content is compressed or processed on users’ personal computers or mobile devices.

According to patent blogger Florian Mueller this is the first smartphone patent suit targeting (among others) Android-based devices in 2011.

He pointed out that Samsung was the only Android device maker targeted at this stage.

“Samsung (like RIM) has an operation in Texas, where the suit was filed, but other defendants like Facebook were targeted without having an office in that state (just for doing business there). Should Samsung end up paying royalties for those patents, I’m sure that other Android device makers will also be required to pay — if it hasn’t happened already,” he claimed.

As they say, the case continues.