Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Washington Research Foundation goes after Bluetooth technology of CSR

The Washington Research Foundation, which licenses patents on behalf of the University of Washington, sued Nokia, Samsung Electronics and Panasonic over a wireless technology patent, and in so doing has implicated technology of Cambridge Silicon Radio [CSR]. CSR developed the BlueCore — a silicon chip with an in-built Bluetooth radio transmitter. Previously, such a device would not work because radio waves given out by the silicon chip would effectively deafen the Bluetooth radio. CSR's trick was to design the chip so that the electrical signals it emitted did not drown out other signals on the frequencies needed for Bluetooth communication. The named defendants use the technology.

[More on the Bluetooth matter may be found here.]

Washington Research Foundation said its complaint against the electronics companies: “Defendants have manufactured, used, imported into the United States, sold and offered for sale devices which, or the use of which, infringes at least the ‘963′ patent.”

The WRF website notes: WRF has benefited Washington state research institutions by licensing a variety of technologies to industry, including the basis for hepatitis B virus vaccine, blood clotting factors, recombinant insulin, and wireless technology supporting the “Bluetooth” protocol.

The Seattle PI wrote on Dec. 23, 2006: The Washington Research Foundation filed suit Dec. 21 in U.S. District Court in Seattle against Matsushita, Samsung and Nokia.

The suit alleges that those companies' Bluetooth-based computers, cell phones or headsets violate at least one patent issued to a former UW student, Edwin Suominen, and now held and protected by the foundation.

The patent in question would seem to be US 7,116,963, issued Oct. 3, 2006, entitled Simplified high frequency tuner and tuning method. The '963 patent is part of a family: This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/032,526 filed Oct. 27, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,631,256, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/317,781 filed May 24, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,427,068, which is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/713,761 filed Sep. 13, 1996, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,937,341.

The first claim of the '963 patent states:

A tuning method comprising: (a) mixing a channel of interest from a channelized spectrum having a predetermined channel spacing with a first local oscillator signal; (b) mixing the channel of interest with a second local oscillator signal having the first frequency and being approximately in quadrature with the first local oscillator signal; (c) wherein the first local oscillator signal has a first frequency that is (1) one-half of a channel spacing displaced from an integer multiple of the channel spacing, and (2) selected to frequency translate the channel of interest to within a passband whose lower edge is spaced from DC by about the channel spacing and whose width is about the channel spacing; (d) the channel of interest has a predetermined maximum bandwidth less than the channel spacing; (e) the channel of interest lies within one of an upper high frequency spectrum of interest and a lower high frequency spectrum of interest; and (f) the method further comprises providing spectrum coverage within one of the high frequency spectra of interest and not the other.

The summary of invention includes the text:

In accordance with the present invention, a high frequency spectrum of interest is translated in continuous-time to a near-baseband passband by quadrature mixing, preferably with a coarse-tuned local oscillator, producing I and Q signals in approximate quadrature relation. The I and Q signals are then filtered in continuous-time to remove DC and to prevent unwanted aliasing upon digital conversion, and are then converted to digital I and Q signals.

In digital processing, various steps are performed including (1) phase correction (optionally including group delay correction) and amplitude correction between the I and Q signals, (2) rejection of an image signal by means of complex filtering or a Hilbert transform pair and adder, (3) further bandlimiting, and, (4) translation of the desired signal from the near-baseband passband to baseband, which step may include digital fine-tuning over the near-baseband passband. If the desired signal is part of a channelized spectrum, the digital fine-tuning capability may be omitted or reduced to a coarse step-wise digital tuning capability with steps equal to the channel spacing, but a translation from near-baseband to baseband is still performed. These steps may be performed in combination and in various orders to achieve the desired effect.

The listing for the prosecuting attorney for the '963 is as follows:
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Suominen; Edward A.

The assignee listed in the patent is University of Washington (Seattle, WA).


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