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Sendo withdraws patent lawsuit

The handset maker settles a patent suit that attempted to stop U.K. carrier Orange from selling the SPV mobile phone, which is based on Microsoft software.

Handset maker Sendo has settled its patent infringement lawsuit against Orange with an agreement to contribute to the cellular carrier's legal costs.

The U.K. cell phone manufacturer has withdrawn the lawsuit, but the terms of the settlement remain confidential, according to Sendo.

Sendo had attempted to stop sales of Orange's SPV, a smart phone based on Microsoft software, in the United Kingdom, saying that the SPV infringed on its circuit-board patent.

The lawsuit was filed last month, as part of the fallout from a failed smart phone project developed by Microsoft and Sendo. In a separate and ongoing lawsuit against Microsoft, Sendo alleged that the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant stole its technology and gave it to other smart-phone manufacturing partners, of which Taiwan's High Tech Computer (HTC) is one. HTC is the manufacturer of the SPV, as well as of O2's Xda wireless handheld computer and similar devices.

Sendo said that the lawsuit against U.K.-based carrier Orange centers on a patent relating to miniaturization in the circuit-board design of the SPV. The lawsuit was filed in the High Court of Justice in London.

Sendo had suggested that other companies selling the SPV--sold by wireless operators under various names around the world--could face similar legal actions.

The handset maker sued Orange rather than HTC because its circuit-board patent only covers the United Kingdom, according to a Sendo representative, but the company has applied for the same patent in other territories worldwide. Sendo applied for the circuit-board patent in September 2001, and it was approved on May 7, 2003.

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Sendo is now developing a smart phone based on the Symbian operating system, which is used by rival phone manufacturers such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

Last week, Sendo said that Texas Instruments had agreed to license unspecified patents for future smart phone products that use TI's OMAP processors.

ZDNET UK's Matthew Broersma reported from London.