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3Com Wins Injunction Against Xircom

Production of RealPort and RealPort2 modems came to a grinding halt late Thursday.

Intel subsidiary Xircom, which makes the credit card sized devices, has been ordered by a U.S. District Court judge to stop making, using, or selling some 26 products until a patent lawsuit initiated by 3Com Corp. has resolved.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based 3Com, which filed its complaint on February 8, 2001, said Xircom infringes claim 29 of U.S. Patent # 6,146,209. Intel acquired Xircom later that same year.

After a lengthy legal process that included an extensive discovery period, multiple expert witnesses and many hearings, Judge Tena Campbell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah issued a 40-page report that said 3Com was likely to prevail on its claim.

On March 22, 2002, the judge granted the company's motion for a preliminary injunction.

The following Xircom products are affected by the court's order: RBE-100BTX, RE-100BTX, RBM56G, RM56G, RM56V1, RM56V2, RM56V3, RBEM56G-100BTX, RBEM56G-100, RE-10BT, REM56G-100BTX, REM56G-10BT, XE2000, XM5600, XM5620, XEM5600, R2E-100BTX, R2BM56WGA, R2BM56WG, R2BM56W, R2M56GA, ISDN/DSL-R2I, R2I-NT1, R2BEM56WGA-100BTX, R2BEM56G-100BTX, R2BE-100BTX

RealPort2 cards can be used alone or mixed and matched with other proprietary cards including Ethernet, ISDN, 56K modem, 802.11b, and wireless data.

The injunction is expected to remain in effect until the case is resolved, including during appeals of the injunction and the trial.

"3Com has long been an innovator and this is reflected in the quality of 3Com's rich intellectual property portfolio," said Mark Michael, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of 3Com. "We are pleased with a ruling that validates our efforts at protecting and, when necessary, enforcing our IP rights."

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel said it was disappointed by the injuntion, but is in the course of asking for a stay and plans on appealing.

"It's important to note that this is a legacy case that was established before Intel acquired Xircom," said Intel legal spokesperson Chuck Mulloy. "This is just an injunction and the case still has to go to a jury. It's also interesting to point out that the products in question are reaching technological maturity."

In other words, they are getting old enough that Intel and Xircom are currently revamping its modem lineup with more advanced modem products.

This is not the first time 3Com and Xircom have gone toe to toe over patents.

Back in May 2000, 3Com accused Xircom of infringement on patents for electrical connectors and current surge-protectors for modems. Those papers were served to Xircom in August. Xircom filed a counter suit against 3Com a month later saying its RealPort PC card design was copied by 3Com in 3Com's Type III PC card design.

That battle is still ongoing in a Los Angeles court and has a separate timetable that the suit in Utah.