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Symbol, Intermec Bury Legal Hatchet

Symbol Technologies  and Intermec  have settled their intellectual property disputes and promised not to sue each other for four years.

Symbol, of Holtsville, N.Y., and Intermec, of Everett, Wash., have agreed to cross-license certain patents and have entered into four-year agreements not to sue over remaining patents.

The companies, rivals in the burgeoning RFID space, have also released patent-infringement damage claims that may have existed on the settlement date or may arise before the covenants expire.

"Both companies believe that the agreement announced today is a good resolution of their IP disputes," the companies said in a statement. "They also believe that this agreement is in the best interests of their customers and shareholders."

Specific terms of the settlement agreement are confidential, but the pact ends a nasty legal battle between two companies in a power struggle for key technologies in the wireless software and RFID space.

RFID  is an emerging technology that forms the basis of sensory networks.

One potential use of RFID includes implanting a chip with data in a product or person and allowing a scanner to log it for inventory or other information.

Analysts expect even more uses for RFID to blossom and project a multi-billion-dollar market in the future, making the stakes high for specialists such as Symbol and Intermec.

The roots of the suits date back to 2004, when Intermec filed an RFID-related patent infringement claim against Matrics Corp., now owned by Symbol Technologies.

Symbol responded in March 2005, filing lawsuits alleging that Intermec was infringing certain Symbol RFID bar-code-scanning and wireless patents.

Intermec filed counterclaims and a complaint in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that Symbol was infringing certain Intermec bar code scanning patents.

Symbol and Intermec resolved the portion of their dispute that concerned RFID.

At that time, Symbol joined Intermec's Rapid Start RFID intellectual property licensing program in a cross-licensing deal that gave Symbol access to Intermec's RFID IP and gave Intermec access to Symbol's RFID IP.