Symbol Wins $23M ‘Wi-Fi’ Patent Suit

Holtsville, New York-based Symbol Technologies has won a crucial patent infringement ruling against rival Proxim over technologies used in Proxim’s Open Air, 802.11 and 802.11b products.

A federal court jury in Wilmington, Delaware ordered Proxim to pay royalties of 6 percent on past sales of infringing products from 1995 to present. Symbol Technologies estimates the damages for past infringement to be in the vicinity of $23 million, before interest.

In addition, Symbol argued that Proxim “continues to sell the infringing
products, making it liable for future payments at the six percent royalty

Symbol, which markets bar-code scanners and other products that manage
data on a range of handheld computers, won the $23 million judgment after
the jury ruled that two of its patents related to wireless local area
networking (WLAN) technologies had been infringed by Proxim.

Proxim, which maintains headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., confirmed the damages would be approximately $23 million but noted that proceedings will continue for the court to conduct a bench trial on Proxim’s remaining equitable defenses not addressed by the jury.

“Proxim has not been enjoined from continued sales of these products and royalty payments, if any, on these sales have not been determined by the court. In addition, Proxim does not incur any immediate financial obligation to Symbol Technologies as a result of this verdict, pending completion of related proceedings,” the company said in a statement.

The patent infringement ruling comes at a crucial time for Proxim, which had earlier resolved a patent spat with Intersil over technology used WLAN products.

Proxim said a trial on its counterclaims against Symbol is proceeding before a different jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on September 16. In that case, Proxim is alleging that certain Symbol products infringe on a Proxim patent. “Proxim intends to vigorously
defend itself in this litigation and to consider all available options after
the conclusion of all matters before the court,” the company declared.

Like Proxim, Symbol has hopped aboard the Wi-Fi gravy
train. Earlier this year, the company rolled out a
new real-time location-tracking products based on the 802.11b networking

The system — Spectrum24 RTL — targets manufacturers looking to improve their tracking abilities on parts and assembly, especially as assembly plants mull deploying wireless networking systems to help them extend their infrastructure. It offers 802.11b wireless networking and differential time of arrival (DTOA) technology in order to keep track of assets and data with a 10-foot range.

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