Graffiti Gets Jolt From Jot

PalmSource hopes CIC's Jot will make its Graffiti handwriting recognition software more intuitive.

Handheld operating systems company PalmSource Inc. on Monday announced plans to improve its long-standing Graffiti handwriting recognition software with technology from Communication Intelligence Corp.

Under a new agreement, PalmSource will license CICs Jot software, embed it into existing PalmSource software and rebrand it as "Graffiti 2 powered by Jot."

Graffiti 2 will be more intuitive than the current version, according to PalmSource officials in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Jots software lets users make letters that actually look like letters, as opposed to Graffiti, in which the letter "T" looks like an upside down "L." Jot also permits data entry on the entire viewing screen, as opposed to the current Graffiti system, which requires a special handwriting entry area on the screen. Graffiti 2 will include the option for full-screen data entry, but it will be up to each individual licensee whether to offer that option to end users.

"Jot has established the kind of broad-based consumer acceptance in the Palm community that made it a natural choice for us," said David Nagel, president and CEO of PalmSource.

PalmSource already has licensed Graffiti 2 to hardware vendors who use both versions IV and V of the Palm OS.

Palm Solutions Group, Palm Inc.s Palm brand, announced last November that it will bundle Jot onto its upcoming Tungsten W handheld computer/cell phone, which is due this year. Tungsten W will be using Jot proper, not Graffiti 2. But Palm Inc. officials said that there should be Palm-branded hardware with Graffiti 2 by the end of the year. Other hardware licensees have yet to announce their plans for Graffiti 2.

PalmSources decision to license Jot follows a 1997 lawsuit in which Xerox Corp. claimed that Graffiti infringed on a Xerox handwriting recognition technology patent.

In December of 2001 Judge Michael Telesca in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York ruled that Xeroxs Unistrokes patent "is valid and enforceable" and that Graffiti infringed on it. Palm appealed the decision in January 2002, and the case is still winding its way through federal appeals courts. Palm officials maintain that Graffiti doesnt infringe on Xeroxs patent, but they did say that the suit was related to their decision to go with Jot.

"The Xerox lawsuit prompted us to take a fresh look at handwriting technology, and after we completed that study we decided that Jot was superior," said Marlene Somsak, a spokeswoman for Palm in Milpitas, Calif. "Weve not acknowledged any infringement at all ... and we do believe that the Jot technology does not infringe on the Xerox patent."