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Palm damns NCR patent suit as baseless

We'll fight The Cash - Palm exec

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Palm has responded to NCR's patent infringement claims with a firm 'it's a load of old bollocks'.

Not that the company's General Counsel, Stephen Yu, put it in quite those terms, but that's what his legalspeak adds up to.

"Palm will defend itself vigorously," he said, following co-defender Handspring's statement last week that NCR has no case and it will fight the suit.

NCR alleges that PDA products from both Palm and Handspring violate patents covering a "credit card-sized... portable personal terminal" that syncs up with other machines to conduct "a wide variety of financial, shopping and other transactions".

That sounds close of Palm CEO Carl Yankowski's vision of the Palm PDA as a universal electronic wallet. There are a few other circumstantial similarities, but beyond that it's hard to what NCR's beef is about. Certainly its 1987 patents post-date the electronic organiser, which dates back to Psion's Organiser in the mid-80s.

Then again, it's may simply be the transactional aspect - in this case, e-commerce and digital cash - that NCR is chasing, sensing this will soon be big business for the likes of Palm. After all, a product can infringe a patent - and note that we're not saying that Palm has violated NCR's intellectual property rights - even if the concept it copies is only a minor part of its functionality. ®

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