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Ars Technica: Varia Holdings Inc. has filed patent infringement lawsuits against RIM and Samsung. The patent in question, titled "emoticon input method and apparatus," gives the company the rights to the concept of allowing users to select emoticons from a menu of options rather than typing in the characters one at a time.
A startup called Wildseed first filed for the patent in 2005 and received approval in 2007. AOL then acquired Wildseed and later spun offer Varia Mobile, which appears related to the plaintiff in this case.