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Canadian firm sues 22 firms over Wi-Fi patents

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A Canadian IP firm has accused 22 major IT companies of infringing its Wi-Fi and DSL patents and slapped them with a patent infringement suit.

Ottawa-based Wi-LAN Inc accuses the firms of infringing its U.S. patent nos. 5,282,222, RE37,802 and 5,956,323, which it says relate to "Wi-Fi and to power consumption in DSL products".

The accused firms are a roll-call of big IT, from Acer and Apple through Belkin, Dell, Circuit City and Best Buy to Intel, HP, Lenovo and Dell. Wi-LAN says it has already negotiated a licensing deal with Fujitsu-Siemens.

Many - including perhaps the companies being sued - may not be terribly familiar with Wi-LAN. According to its website, the firm was founded in 1992, and "was a recognized pioneer in the design, development and delivery of broadband wireless technologies". Back in 2004 it took a legal pop at Cisco.

In a statement accompanying this week’s action, president and CEO Jim Skippen said: "Wi-LAN has successfully negotiated patent licensing deals with a number of companies covering a broad range of patent families and technologies."

He added: "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."

One thing that wasn’t a surprise about the action – it’s been initiated in the Eastern District of Texas.

The list of accused firms also includes Buffalo Technology, which is currently fighting an injunction on importing kit into the US after getting into another patent tangle with the Australian-based Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. ®

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