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ComputerWire logo Palm Inc has sought to side-step further legal run-ins with Xerox Corp over its PDA handwriting technology by licensing another company's handwriting recognition software.

Palm's software subsidiary PalmSource will use Communication Intelligence Corporation's Jot software as the engine for Graffiti 2, the successor to the Graffiti handwriting recognition software which is integral to the Palm operating system for PDAs.

Graffiti was at the center of a long running patent dispute between Santa Clara, California-based Palm and Xerox Corp, which claimed the software infringed on Xerox patents. In December 2001 a US district court ruled in favor of Stamford, Connecticut-based Xerox. An appeal by Palm was heard earlier this month and a ruling is due later this year, said a Palm spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman said yesterday that while the court case had prompted Palm to look for alternatives to the earlier technology, the firm had decided it needed to rethink the product "independent of the law suit."

Palm had taken a close look at the CIC product and did not envisage any legal problems with Graffiti 2, the spokeswoman added. "We believe it does not infringe."

The PDA vendor said the new product had a more natural input system, and would help Palm grow the market faster.

Michael Higashi, director of OS marketing for PalmSource, said the Jot-powered product gave users more options on how they could input characters. Unlike the earlier product, Graffiti 2 would not require characters to be input as a single stroke. Higashi said Graffiti 2 would be available to its licensees immediately, and PalmSource expected its OEMs to begin shipping products featuring Graffiti 2 later this year.

Palm's spokeswoman said the company would still continue with its fight against Xerox' allegations. Xerox was unavailable for comment.

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