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WiLAN sues Comcast, Time Warner, Charter

The small wireless company launches lawsuits against cable giants, alleging patent infringement over the sale of cable modems.

Canadian wireless company WiLAN is firing up another round of lawsuits, this time against leading cable companies.

Alleging patent infringement over technology in cable modems, WiLAN said today that it has has launched suits against Comcast, Time Warner, and Charter Communications in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Ottawa-based WiLAN, which patents wireless products, asserts that the cable trio has been violating U.S. patent No. 5,761,602 by marketing and selling cable systems and modems. Issued in 1998, the patent in question covers "hybrid multichannel data transmission system utilizing a broadcast medium," which specifically covers the broadcasting of data to a number of remote networks and computers.

WiLAN said that it's being represented in its legal action by U.S. law firm McKool Smith, which is also handling the company's other patent infringement cases in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas--a popular court for filing such claims because of its reputation as being friendly to patent plaintiffs.

WiLAN has a history of filing patent infringement suits against leading technology companies. Last month, WiLAN announced suits against Alcatel-Lucent, Sony Ericsson, LG Electronics, and several others involved in mobile communications. The lawsuits claim patent infringement over certain wireless technologies.

In April, WiLAN sued Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and a host of other top tech players over alleged patent infringement regarding the use of Bluetooth in PCs and mobile phones. A lawsuit filed in 2008 went after wireless handset makers, while a suit in 2007 targeted laptop and router manufacturers.