Wi-Lan Sues 22 Companies In Wi-Fi, DSL Patent Disputes

The lawsuits were filed against tech heavyweights such as Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Sony, and retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City.

Canadian wireless network provider Wi-Lan has sued 22 companies, including tech heavyweights Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Sony, accusing the defendants of infringing on three of its patents.

Wi-Lan sued the companies in two separate actions in U.S. District Court in East Texas. The alleged infringement involved patents related to Wi-Fi technology and power consumption technology in DSL products. The patent numbers are 5,282,222, RE37,802 and 5,956,323.

The defendants include chip suppliers, equipment vendors, and electronic retailers, including Best Buy and Circuit City. Wi-Lan claims the defendants made and/or sold various products using the patented technology. Those products included wireless routers, modems and notebooks.

Wi-Lan said in a statement issued Thursday that the company has negotiated patent licensing deals with a number of companies using a broad range of technologies, and such deals are a "strong endorsement of the strength and validity of our valuable patent portfolio." Wi-LAN claims to own more than 280 issued or pending patents.

"While we prefer to resolve patent infringement through business discussions, we have consistently maintained that litigation was always a possibility when negotiations do not result in a license within a reasonable time," Jim Skippen, president and chief executive of Wi-Lan, said.

Wi-Lan has sued in the past to protect its patents. In December 2005, the company said it signed an agreement with Cisco to settle a patent infringement suit. Under the deal, Cisco purchased several issued and pending patents related to WiMax and antenna technology. In addition, Cisco licensed Wi-Lan's patent portfolio.

Other companies named as defendants in the latest litigation are Acer, Atheros Communications, Belkin International, Broadcom, Buffalo Technology (USA), D-Link, Gateway, Infineon Technologies AG, Lenovo Group, Marvell Semiconductor, Netgear, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Westell Technologies and 2Wire.

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