Samsung And RIM Sued Over Emoticon Patent

Two of the world's tech giants, Samsung and Research in Motion, has just discovered that sometimes using LOL-worthy emoticons is no laughing matter. The two companies were accused of infringing an "emoticon input method and apparatus" patent.

The accusation comes from Varia Holdings Inc., a company that employed a menu allowing users to choose from a variety of emoticons instead of letting them type in the characters. While the company admits that it does not own the emoticons, which have been at the users' fingertips since the dawn of 'typing' time, it claims that it owns the idea of helping customers insert these emoticons from a menu.

"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'.

However, few email or instant messaging applications offer any assistance to a user to enter and use emoticons in their communications," says Varia Holdings patent.

The list of devices that supposedly infringe Varia's patent include: Samsung Acclaim, Nexus S, Captivate, Epic, Galaxy Nexus, Transform and from the BlackBerry family: Bold, Curve, Pearl, and Storm models.