3Com Slaps D-Link with Patent Lawsuit

By Michael Singer

January 09, 2003

UPDATE: Fresh from its litigation with Xircom, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based network equipment maker goes after another rival.

Network equipment maker 3Com Thursday filed a patent litigation lawsuit against rival D-Link and its network interface card products.

The suit filed in a Wilmington, Delaware court focuses specifically on three 3Com patents. A company representative told internetnews.com the patents it is charging infringement upon all center around 3Com's "parallel tasking" feature set which optimizes the interface between the network connection and the internal computer BUS.

The patents-in-suit are:

- US Patent No. 5,307,459 "Network Adapter with host indication optimization" issued April 26, 1994
- US Patent No. 5,434,872 "Apparatus for automatic initiation of data transmission" issued July 18, 1995
- US Patent No. 5,732,094 "Method for automatic initiation of data transmission" issued March 24, 1998

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company not specify mention if it was seeking monetary damages or an injunction against D-Link. "3Com believes several of D-Link's products infringe upon 3Com Ethernet patents," 3Com Director of IP Licensing Don Drinkwater said in a statement. "These patents are the result of 3Com's long history of leadership in the field of computer networking, starting with its founding by Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe in 1979. 3Com will vigorously defend the unauthorized use of its Intellectual Property to the full extent of the law."

Executives with D-Link, which is based in Taiwan and in Irvine, Calif., were not immediately available for comment.

D-Link has placed an increasing emphasis on the development of wireless LAN (WLAN) products, including adapters and access points. The company makes networking, connectivity, and data communications hardware, offering hubs and switches as well as adapters, print servers, routers, and transceivers. It specializes in Ethernet components for the small office and home office market.

3Com, which says it holds some 800 patents in the United States, has been on the defensive with regard to its patent property. The company recently settled with Xircom in their long-running patent battle over modem cards, with 3Com winning a $15 million license payment.

As part of its policy of enforcing its Intellectual Property rights, 3Com said it conducts an active licensing program.

"Many companies see the benefit of licensing 3Com patents and technology," Drinkwater said. "We at 3Com are proud to see our IP widely used in that manner."

Originally published on .

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