April 30, 1997 12:15 PM PDT

Xerox sues USR over patents

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Xerox (XRX) said today that it is suing U.S. Robotics (USRX) in a patent infringement case involving two of its products.

The suit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Rochester, New York, alleges that U.S. Robotics is using the company's handwriting recognition technology, Unistrokes, in its Pilot handheld computer and Graffiti software without obtaining a license, according to Judd Everhart, a Xerox spokesman.

U.S. Robotics sells its Graffiti software to other companies for use in their personal digital assistants.

Xerox alleges that a U.S. Robotics vice president at its Palm Computing subsidiary had earlier approached the company about licensing the Unistrokes technology. Although the executive was told that a patent was pending on the technology, U.S. Robotics allegedly is using the technology without obtaining a license.

U.S. Robotics has not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and declined to comment until reviewing it, a spokeswoman said.

Xerox received a patent in January for technology that recognizes handwritten text using an alphabet system in pen computers. The company is seeking damages and an injunction on use of the technology.

U.S. Robotics, meanwhile, is busy with other issues. 3Com announced earlier this year that it will acquire U.S. Robotics in a multibillion-dollar stock swap, designed to give the company an edge with end-to-end local and wide area network access from network interface cards to high-speed modems. The merger is expected to close in June.


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