PC connectivity tools vendor Xircom has served a patent infringement lawsuit against 3Com in the latest in a long-running dispute between the two networking companies.
This week Xircom accused its rival of infringing its patents in 3Com's impending Type III PC cards and has asked that the cards be barred from going on sale.
Xircom claims its RealPort PC card is also a Type III PC Card which allows users to connect to data networks without using features than can easily be lost or broken. The Xircom card supports simultaneous network and modem connections as well as network speed switching.
Dirk Gates, Xircom's chairman, president and chief executive, said the company understands competition but argues that "3Com has deliberately invited this lawsuit by introducing its currently advertised Type III PC card products".
Xircom claims it revolutionised the networking market when it released the RealPort Integrated PC Card. Randall Holliday, Xircom's general counsel, said: "We do not enter into any litigation lightly, but we will always protect our intellectual property rights when appropriate. We clearly have an obligation to protect our investment in designing, developing and promoting this breakthrough product."
This week's case follows a lawsuit served by 3Com against Xircom last month in which 3Com accused the PC connectivity company of using patented 3Com technology to make PC cards. Xircom denied the accusations and said it will fight the lawsuit vigorously.
3Com alleges that Xircom infringed on two sets of 3Com patents to make computer modems and other types of PC cards. The first patent describes a so-called contact block that provides an electrical connection when a modular plug is inserted into the integrated connector of a PC card. The second refers to 3Com's exclusive Digital Line Guard technology, which protects the PC card from damage due to excessive voltage.
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