A US federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Palm and
Handspring, producers of handheld computers. The lawsuit was filed
last year by NCR, a computer system company best known for banking
ATMs, which alleged that the personal digital assistant (PDA)
products were infringing its patents.15 Jul 2002
In the lawsuit, NCR claimed that, 20 years ago, it had designed "a revolutionary new device and system for handling and transmitting data" small enough to fit in the user’s hand. NCR alleged its design incorporated many of the same tools that exist in the popular Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor PDAs.
The lawsuit also claimed that Palm and Handspring knew of the NCR patent but decided not to seek licences. NRC notified Handspring of its claim of infringement in March 2000, but never contacted Palm on the matter to seek resolution before filing suit in the US District Court in Delaware.
In her decision, the federal Judge said that NCR’s patents did not apply to either Palm’s or Handspring’s products or technology, and that “the [Palm’s and Handspring’s] devices do not infringe the asserted claims of the [NCR] patents.”
A spokesman for Palm said: “Palm respects valid patents and has taken licences where appropriate. We refuse to succumb to intimidation by companies that use charges of patent infringement to bully others.”