Rockwell sues Bay over K56flex modem technology

Rockwell Semiconductor Systems has filed a lawsuit against Bay Networks for allegedly breaching its K56flex modem technology licensing agreement with Rockwell. Bay Networks' 'current business practices violate its K56flex licensing agreement with Rockwell and their actions competitively disadvantage K56flex licensees,' a Rockwell statement said. The statement did not specify exactly how Bay is breaching its licensing agreement. Bay denies the allegations and is preparing a countersuit

Rockwell Semiconductor Systems has filed a lawsuit against Bay Networks for allegedly breaching its K56flex modem technology licensing agreement with Rockwell.

Bay Networks' "current business practices violate its K56flex licensing agreement with Rockwell and their actions competitively disadvantage K56flex licensees," a Rockwell statement said.

The statement did not specify exactly how Bay is breaching its licensing agreement and officials at Rockwell did not return calls seeking more information.

Bay Networks is abiding by the terms of the licensing agreement and is preparing a countersuit, John Sieg, vice president and general manager of Bay Networks' Signal Processing Group, said in a telephone interview.

Rockwell is punishing Bay Networks for implementing a rival technology, according to Sieg. Bay Networks offers remote access servers for both the x2 specification proposed by US Robotics for analog modems that run at up to 56Kbit/s and the K56flex technology, developed by Rockwell and Lucent Technologies which more vendors and Internet access providers seem to be supporting.

"I think Rockwell is trying to force the market any way it can to accept K56flex technology and they're doing it in a manner to try to limit Bay Networks' customers' choices," Sieg said. "It appears that Rockwell and their allies are really trying to act like a cartel here."

Dwight Decker, president of Rockwell, said in the statement that the company had tried to resolve the issue with Bay Networks without success, and that litigation could delay deployment and approval of a global 56K-bit-per-second modem standard.

Rockwell, based in Newport Beach, California, is at http://www.nb.rockwell.com/. Bay Networks, based in Santa Clara, California, can be reached on the Web at http://www.baynetworks.com/.

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