WLAN Patent Battle Intensifies

By allNetDevices Staff

June 04, 2001

The intellectual property battle over wireless local area network (LAN) technology heated up late last week with the filing of a suit by Agere Systems Inc. claiming Proxim Inc. infringed its patents.

The intellectual property battle over wireless local area network (LAN) technology heated up late last week with the filing of a suit by Agere Systems Inc. claiming Proxim Inc. infringed its patents.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, claims Proxim infringed three patents related to wireless LANs. Agere said its patented technology relates to multi-rate wireless data communications systems, antenna apparatus and tungsten metallization. It said all those technologies currently are being used in Proxim's wireless LAN product line.

Agere, which recently was spun off from Lucent Technologies, provides the technical underpinnings for 802.11b-based wireless LAN products. Earlier this year, Proxim filed an action with the International Trade Commission claiming that a number of vendors were infringing on its patents for 802.11b technology. Proxim, however, primarily sells wireless LAN products based on the HomeRF specification.

Agere said its suit was aimed at protecting its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers.

"We believe that Proxim's action in the ITC is without merit," said Judith Sheft, Agere's vice president of intellectual property and compliance. "We intend to vigorously support our customers against Proxim."

Agere said it is seeking monetary damages from Proxim's infringement and an injunction prohibiting Proxim from using the technology in the future. Agere said it had been negotiating to give Proxim rights to use the technology, but those negotiations failed.



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