Rockwell confirmed today it is suing Bay Networks for using its K56Flex fast modem technology in a non-standard way.
Bay's action has confused the rival camps competing to set the standard for 56Kbps modems - K56Flex and US Robotics-led X2 - said Rockwell supporters.
Said a spokeswoman: ?We?re suing Bay because it is combining a non standard X2 protocol with the pure K56Flex protocol.?
She said that companies like Bay ?were jumping into bed with whatever was around at the time". She added that Lucent and Motorola, key K56Flex supporters, were still sticking with the Rockwell chipset and the lawsuit will seek compensation for damages in diluting the original specification.
But Trevor Dearing, network enterprise product manager at Bay Networks UK, said: "We?re going to offer this because the technology allows us to do that. We understand there was an agreement with Rockwell. If they are protective of K56Flex everyone will move to X2."
Dearing added: "We will contest anything they throw at us."
The lawsuit escalates the battle of the two camp. US Robotics, now in the arms of 3Com, is reluctant to give up on the X2 technology and that there is a plethora of law cases surrounding the modem technology, mainly focusing on patent and licensing rights, but clearly designed to score marketing points in the standards war.
Given the confusion, that is likely to mean end users will still remain undecided about which modems they buy until the International Telecommunications Union sets an industry standard, which could take up to a year.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are offering limited 56K services in the UK, but none wants to be drawn into the conflict.
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