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Wednesday, March 28, 2007, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Apple, Dell and Sony named to Bluetooth patent suit

Apple, Dell, Sony and five other technology companies were recently added to a lawsuit over Bluetooth patents, threatening the use of the wireless communication standard in millions of devices, Bloomberg is reporting.

According to the financial news network, Washington Research Foundation is accusing the companies of infringing on four patents covering technology that lets users exchange data among mobile phones, personal computers and other devices without using cables.

The non-profit foundation, which originally sued Matsushita, Samsung, and Nokia in a Seattle federal court back in December, tacked on the PC manufacturers earlier this month. At the same time, Logitech, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, and Plantronics were also named to the suit.

WRF's complaint is said to specifically target products that contain chips made by CSR Plc., which is reported to be using the Bluetooth technology without permission. Chipmakers such as Broadcom, which hold licenses from the foundation, will not be named in the suit, Bloomberg said.

In a statement released January, Cambridge, England-based CSR said the suit was without merit and vowed to defend its products rigorously.

Both Apple and Dell built Bluetooth into their personal computer systems several years ago as a way to link wireless devices and cut the chord on peripherals through Bluetooth wireless keyboards and mice. Meanwhile, Bloomberg cites the Washington-based Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which says more than 1 billion devices worldwide are equipped with Bluetooth technology.

With its suit, WRF is reportedly seeking monetary damages and a court order barring the sale of products that use its patented technology. CSR in January countersued the foundation, court papers show.