PCTEL Sues 3Com — Again

In a new lawsuit, modem maker PCTEL alleges that rival 3Com engaged in unfair competition by “manipulating” a standards-setting body.

Chicago-based PCTEL charges that 3COM made a commitment to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to license the technology essential to the V.90 or 56K recommendations on a non-discriminatory basis and on reasonable terms and conditions.

“This commitment was not fulfilled and, as a result, the licensing practices harmed smaller competitors and consumers,” Marty Singer, PCTEL’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The suit, which was brought under California’s Unfair Competition Act, seeks a court order for Marlborough, Mass.-based 3Com to “disgorge its ill-gotten gains.” It did not cite a specific figure.

A 3Com spokeswoman said the company has not received the pleading yet so it can’t comment.

The company’s lawyers are familiar with each other. In March, PCTEL filed a patent infringement case against 3Com. In that actions, PCTEL alleges that 3Com saying breached one of its fundamental modem patents relating to V.34 (lower speed) and V.90 (56 KBPS) modems.

The lawsuit filed in California’s Northern District in San Jose calls for an injunction and also asks the court for a declaration that certain 3Com patents are invalid and not infringed.

And last week, PCTEL also filed patent claims against Agere Systems, Broadcom, Lucent Technologies and U.S. Robotics.

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