Judge Supports Palm in Xerox Patent Lawsuit

BOSTON (06/08/2000) - Palm Inc.'s use of handwriting software for its Palm line of handheld computers did not infringe on a Xerox Corp. patent, a U.S. district court judge ruled this week.

Michael Telesca, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, on Tuesday dismissed the patent infringement lawsuit brought by Xerox Corp. against Palm and 3Com Corp.

Xerox spokeswoman Christa Carone said company officials are reviewing the judge's ruling and still are determining if they will ask him to reconsider his decision or seek an appeal.

Xerox filed the lawsuit against Palm in April 1997 and alleged that Palm's Graffiti software used with the company's handhelds infringed on its own handwriting recognition program.

In January 1997, Xerox obtained the patent for Unistrokes, a technology that allows users to put information into a computer by printing in a special shorthand. Xerox officials argued that U.S. Robotics Inc., a 3Com subsidiary, used the same technology in its Palm handheld computers.

Telesca held that Xerox's patent was too narrow to cover Palm's handhelds, Palm attorney Paul Berghoff said in a statement.

The court held that the Graffiti alphabet differed from the specialized alphabet covered by Xerox's patent, said Berghoff, a partner with McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff in Chicago. The fact that Palm handhelds have separate writing areas for letters and numbers and that the Graffiti alphabet handles symbols with more than one stroke were also relied on by Judge Telesca in finding no infringement by Palm, Berghoff said.

3Com and Palm became two separate companies during the first quarter of 2000.

3Com, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-764-5000 or at http://www.3com.com/. Xerox, in Stamford, Connecticut, can be reached at +1-203-968-3000 or at http://www.xerox.com/.

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