updated 04:00 pm EDT, Mon October 19, 2009
Other computer makers also targeted
Apple and several other computer makers have been targeted in a patent infringement lawsuit involving Ethernet technology. The plaintiff, US Ethernet Innovations, claims the companies have been using intellectual property contained in at least one four patents originally issued to 3Com between 1994 and 1998.
Only one Apple product, the MacBook Pro, has been named in the suit. The device allegedly infringes on claims contained in the "'313 Patent" entitled "Network Interface with Hose Independent Buffer Management.
Other defendants include Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Sony and Toshiba. USEI has accused the companies of violating the '313 Patent, along with the additional patents relating to automatic initiation of data transmission or network adapters with host indication optimization.
"We believe that the continued aggressive enforcement of the fundamental ethernet technologies developed by 3Com against the waves of cheap, knock-off, foreign manufactured equipment is a necessary step in protecting the competitiveness of this American technology and American companies in general," said USEI CEO David Kennedy.
The company claims 3Com was "driven out of" the Ethernet business due to "cheaply manufactured imitations." USEI claims it was "formed to continue 3Com Corporation's successful licensing program on behalf of its portfolio of foundational patents in Ethernet technology."
The plaintiff demands a jury trial and seeks treble damages, claiming willful violation, along with a permanent injunction to prevent further infringement. The court filing also asks for pre-judgment and post-judgment interest on the awarded damages.
3Com last year filed a similar lawsuit against Realtek, leading to a $70 million settlement. USEI reportedly licenses the technology to companies such as Lucent, Palm, UTStarcomm, VIA, D-Link and US Robotics.