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Aruba strikes back at Motorola's patent claims

Sued by Motorola in August over four WLAN-related patents, Aruba is now countersuing, arguing that its use of the patents had gone unchallenged for years.

Aruba Networks has filed a lawsuit against two Motorola subsidiaries.

The suit is in response to patent-infringement claims issued in August by Symbol and Wireless Valley Communications over four patents on wireless local-area network architecture.

Subsidiaries Symbol and Wireless Valley Communications are seeking to stop Aruba from distributing much of its equipment in the U.S. Aruba is seeking to invalidate their claims.

Aruba's countersuit alleges that Symbol knew about Aruba's technologies more than four years ago, yet has not sued over the patents until now.

"Recognizing the superiority of Aruba's technologies, Symbol tried to get access to them by buying Aruba," the company said in a filing on Wednesday. "Throughout the first half of 2003, in the course of discussions initiated by Symbol, Aruba gave Symbol essentially unfettered access to Aruba's products--the way they were designed, built, tested and made--and to Aruba's business and marketing strategies and plans. Although Symbol was very interested in acquiring Aruba and its technologies, ultimately the parties were not able to agree on the complete terms of a transaction."

Aruba claims that despite this access to its technology back in 2003, Symbol made no assertion that the technology in question violated the Motorola subsidiary's patents.

"At no point during Symbol's efforts to convince Aruba did Symbol advise or suggest that Symbol had already invented the technology that Aruba had. In fact, quite the contrary: Symbol was very impressed with Aruba's technologies, and told Aruba that it [Symbol] thought those technologies to be superior to, and different from, Symbol's," read the filing.

Rather than Symbol being motivated by concerns that its intellectual property had been violated, Aruba's filing asserts that the Motorola subsidiary's original suit was intended to weaken a company that it sees as a strong competitor.

"Sometimes, when companies are losing in the marketplace, they sue--hoping that they can persuade jurors to overrule the verdict of the market. This lawsuit...is that type of case, " the filing stated.

Motorola refused to comment on Aruba's filing.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.