PCTEL Slaps 3Com with Patent Infringement

Modem manufacturing company PCTEL, Inc. Thursday said it has filed a patent infringement case against rival 3Com .

The Chicago-based company claims 3Com breaches 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.

In addition to these patents, PCTEL said it owns other modem patents unrelated to ITU standards, including the one asserted against 3Com today, which deals with the ability of modems to operate in different countries and to reset country-specific parameters.

“We have consistently informed the industry – customers, competitors and our shareholders – that we will protect our substantial investment in modem technology,” said PCTEL Chairman and CEO Marty Singer. “Despite repeated efforts to resolve this matter outside of the courts, 3Com’s apparent dismissal of our legitimate claims left us with no option but to seek legal redress.”

Santa Clara, Calif.-based 3Com was not immediately available for comment. The company announced plans this week to sell off the majority of the assets of its CommWorks subsidiary. The Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based division makes network switching, wireless access, and unified messaging products and is not expected to be impacted by 3Com’s modem litigation.

PCTEL’s products include analog soft modems, DSP-based modems and WLAN software products (Segue product line) that it says simplify installation, roaming, Internet access and billing.

This is not the first time that PCTEL has enforced its fundamental modem patents through litigation. In late 2001, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) validated several of those patents in an infringement dispute with two other parties. As a result of that litigation, both of those companies took a license under PCTEL’s modem patents.

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