Wi-Lan Just Keeps On Suing; Says Cable Modems Infringe Its Patents Too

from the does-any-networking-equipment-not-infringe? dept

Wi-Lan really is the patent troll that just keeps on suing. You may recall that the company -- which once was an operating company that totally failed in the market, because it was unable to execute -- has since become one of the nastier patent trolls out there, suing everyone it possibly can. Years back, it claimed that it had patents that covered the basics behind WiFi. After that, it claimed patents on mobile broadband offerings, like WiMax. It's also sued over patents on mobile devices and near-field Bluetooth technology.

And it's not stopping there. Its latest move is to sue a bunch of cable firms for violating patents with their cable modems. Basically, if you offer any kind of networking, expect to have to pay some sort of tax to this company that couldn't hack it in the marketplace. Is that how the patent system was supposed to work?
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Filed Under: cable modems, networking, patents
Companies: wi-lan

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  1. identicon
    Mo Dee, 25 Dec 2010 @ 4:32pm

    The verdict

    I have been following wi-lan since they first formed. Here is the real story.

    They tried to bring their patents in the form of products but the bigger players in the market (most of the people they are suing) just figured they could get away without licensing it because wi-lan was a small company and could not afford to go after everyone in court.

    I don't believe that the people they are suing were not aware that wi-lan already owned the patents, as it is standard due diligence with most companies that they will make an attempt to file a patent, and in this process will find out if a patent already exists.

    I'm sure if many of these companies licensed the patent from wi-lan many years ago, wi-lan would have the cash to continue their hardware/chip manufacturing, but because they didn't, the company has been taken over by a bunch of lawyers in order to get what is rightfully theirs.

    Another company that i would compare to wi-lan in this case is qualcomm. They have a patent for CDMA and most cell phone manufacturers pay qualcomm a royalty when producing a CDMA handset. Nokia was one company that didn't want to pay qualcommm and it turned into a long fierce battle. I happened to work for a CDMA telco at the time and the nokia handsets we carried were the only handsets that didn't have a sticker that said "CDMA by qualcomm" The nokia handsets also had the poorest reception due to the fact that their CDMA implementation for the chips were slightly different then qualcomms spec, in order to try and avoid paying qualcomm the licensing fees. This was back in 2000 and eventually Nokia had to pay - they have been in court ever since....

    The whole objective of a business is to make a profit and the laws are supposed to try and provide a fair playing ground for this so those that strive in good faith to earn are protected from tyranny. Because there is sufficient history that wi-lan did in fact try and take the product to market, and that the responsibility lies on the other companies to do their due diligence before going to market - Wi-Lan is in the right.

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