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HP sues Xerox on touchscreens

The suit alleges that Xerox stole touchscreen technology for its copiers, the latest turn in an increasingly litigious rivalry.

Hewlett-Packard yesterday filed a patent infringement suit against Xerox, the third new lawsuit involving the two rivals in the last year.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, HP alleges that the touchscreen technology in its 1987 patent, "Touchscreen Two-Dimensional Emulation of Three Dimensional Objects," is illegally incorporated in Xerox's Document Centre 220, 230, and 265 copiers as well as several other Xerox copying products.

HP uses the technology in its touchscreen PCs, according to the company.

Although the suit seeks unspecified damages, HP estimates that the technology in dispute represents more than $800 million in annual revenue for Xerox, according to a company spokesperson. HP is also seeking an injunction against the offending products, she said.

A Xerox spokesman said the company had not yet seen the suit and had no comment as to whether HP filed the suit in retaliation for previous litigation.

Yesterday's action is by no means the first time the two companies have clashed in court: Xerox filed its own patent infringement suit against HP less than a month ago, alleging that HP is using proprietary Xerox technology in some of its ink jet printer products. HP says that suit is without merit and challenges the validity of the the Xerox patent on which it turns, the company said today.

Six months ago, HP filed suit against Xerox alleging trademark infringement on Xerox LaserJet cartridge packaging. The companies are awaiting rulings on the earlier suits.

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