Canadian Firm Launches Patent Attack

Wi-LAN targets chip suppliers, equipment vendors and electronic retailers.

Wi-LAN, a Canadian patent licensing firm, filed patent infringement lawsuits Nov. 1 against 22 technology companies, including Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Intel. The lawsuits target chip suppliers, equipment vendors and electronic retailers.

Wi-LAN contends the companies are violating its patents involving Wi-Fi and power consumption in DSL products. Wi-LAN claims a patent portfolio of more than 280 issued or pending patents.

"While we prefer to resolve patent infringement through business discussions, we have consistently maintained that litigation was always a possibility when negotiations do not result in a license within a reasonable time," Wi-LAN President and CEO Jim Skippen said in a statement.

Other companies named in the lawsuits include Acer, Atheros Communications, Belkin, Circuit City, Best Buy, Broadcom, Buffalo Technology, D-Link, Gateway, Infineon, Lenovo, Marvell Semiconductor, Netgear, Sony, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Westell Technologies and 2Wire.


To read about Wi-LAN's purchase of WiMax patents, click here.


In a conference call, Skippen said there are "significant economies of scale" when suing a large number of companies. He added that company officials "have carefully vetted the costs of these litigations and are very confident we can afford these litigations, and more litigation, if they become necessary."

Wi-LAN has taken on the large tech companies before, with Cisco Systems signing a licensing agreement with Wi-LAN to settle a pending infringement lawsuit. Cisco also bought from Wi-LAN patents related to WiMax and antenna technology.

Skippen said his company has successfully negotiated licensing deals with a number of technology companies. Founded in 1992, Wi-LAN's patent portfolio includes such fundamental wireless technology as CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), DOCIS, DSL, GSM/EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution), V-Chip and WiMax.


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