The US District Court has ruled that Xerox Corporation’s Unistrokes patent was infringed upon by Palm and 3Com in their handheld electronic organisers using Graffiti.
Judge Michael Telesca, US District Court for the Western District of New York, ruled in the lawsuit originally filed by Xerox that the company’s ‘656 patent is valid and enforceable,’ and that the ‘Graffiti product infringes [it].’
The decision ends the liability portion of the case, clearing the way for Xerox to seek damages in the next phase of trial. The trial court will determine the amount of damages for past infringement of the patent and Palm’s ability to continue to use the technology. If the infringement was willful, the court can triple the amount of damages due to Xerox. Both Palm and 3Com are jointly and separately liable.
‘Either Palm will have to cease production of its handheld organiser or license the technology from Xerox,’ said Christina Clayton, Xerox general counsel.
In April 1997, Xerox sued US Robotics, later acquired by 3Com, claiming that the handwriting recognition technology marketed as Graffiti and used in Palm handheld devices infringed a Xerox patent received on January 21, 1997. The technology in question, known as Unistrokes, was invented at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center.
This ruling reinforces a 1999 certification from the US Patent and Trademark Office validating the Xerox Unistrokes patent.
Palm, of course, disagrees. The company announced that it will appeal the decision.
‘We assert that the Graffiti handwriting technology does not infringe the Xerox patent and that Palm has strong arguments to support its defence,’ said Eric Benhamou, chairman and chief executive officer of Palm.
‘Palm will defend itself vigorously and does not intend for this litigation to affect its business strategy or business model nor that of its licensees.’