Samsung and RIM alleged to have ripped off emoticon menu patent

The suing and froing continues in the tech space with Varia Holdings claiming that Samsung and Research in Motion have ripped off its emoticion patents.

The company is now suing the pair claiming that it came up with the idea to that allows people to select emoticons from a menu of options rather than typing them out in characters.

The patent titled “emoticon input method and apparatus” was filed in 2005 before it was given to a company called Wildseed. After being bought by AOL, Varia Holdings was created and took the patent with it.

However, it’s now claiming that Samsung has included aspects of this technology in handsets such as the Nexus S, Captivate and Transform by offering users a pop up menu that lets them choose which emotion they wish to display. The company has also gone after RIM claiming that its Blackberry range offers users the same thing.

It said in its court documents that although people use emoticons such as smiley faces, in their email and instant messaging “communications” not many of these applications allow users to pick emoticons from a menu. It said that it had the patent that allowed this rather than forcing users to type out different characters to achieve that smiley or sad face.

The waters around this kind of patent are murky and if Samsung and RIM decide to fight the order they could have a long swim ahead of them.