Proxim, Symbol settle in patent case

The two companies reach a settlement and sign a cross-licensing agreement, ending years of litigation over patent infringement.

Wireless gear makers Proxim and Symbol Technologies have reached a settlement after a long legal battle over patent infringement.

Under the settlement and cross-licensing agreement terms, Proxim announced that it plans to pay Symbol $22.75 million over the next two and a half years, or 10 quarters, starting with the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

Proxim also has agreed to pay Symbol a 2 percent royalty on future sales of certain wireless local area network (LAN) products. The two companies have cross-licensed certain patents, and Proxim has assigned certain intellectual property to Symbol. The two companies have also entered into a mutual agreement not to sue each other with respect to patent infringement covering networking products through September 2009.

The settlement comes a month after Symbol announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware had ordered Proxim to pay Symbol approximately $23 million in damages, plus $3 million in interest, for infringing on Symbol's patents.

The case was related to wireless LAN technology based on the 802.11 standard. The technology links laptops, PCs and other computing devices to local networks via wireless connections.

The two companies have a long history of suing each other. Proxim filed a suit back in 2001 against Symbol and several other wireless networking competitors, including Cisco Systems, 3Com, SMC Networks and Wayport. Proxim had accused Symbol and other competitors of infringing on at least three of its wireless patents. The Proxim suit went to trial, and a court found that Symbol had not infringed on Proxim's patents.

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