There are patent suits that, you know, deal with actual intellectual property, and then there are lawsuits companies file that make the whole technology landscape look like one big joke. This is one such instance. Varia Holdings Inc. is suing both Samsung and Research In Motion for infringing on a patent titled “emoticon input method and apparatus.” 🙁
According to ArsTechnica, Varia claims it owns the concept of allowing users to choose emoticons from a menu of options rather than typing them out one character at a time. The patent was apparently filed in late 2005 and wound up in the hands uf Varia Mobile, which was spun off from AOL. The current relationship between Varia Mobile and Varia Holdings Inc. is unclear.
“It is known that for many users, their email and instant messaging communications… often involve the use of emoticons, such as the ‘smiling face’ or the ‘sad face,'” the patent says. “However, few email or instant messaging applications offer any assistance to a user to enter and use emoticons in their communications.”
Varia said a number of Samsung devices use a pop out menu for emoticons, including the Nexus S, Captivate, Epic 4G and Galaxy Nexus; Research In Motion devices that allegedly infringe on the patent include the BlackBerry Bold, Curve, Pearl and Storm.
[via Ars Technica]