Canadian Wireless Vendor Sues Cisco For Patent Infringement

wireless communications

In a lawsuit filed in Canada, Wi-Lan alleges that Cisco's Linksys and Aironet product lines utilize wideband advanced orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) technology that infringes on several Wi-Lan U.S. and Canadian patents. Wi-Lan is seeking compensation for use of its intellectual property as well as punitive damages from Cisco, the company said in a statement.

"This legal action against Cisco puts the industry on notice that Wi-Lan will aggressively protect its patent rights," said Sayed-Amr "Sisso" El Hamamsy, president and CEO of Wi-Lan, Calgary, Alberta, in the statement.

The company said the suit is part of its escalating effort to pursue licensing and protect its intellectual property.

Wi-Lan in May settled a similar lawsuit against Redline Communications. It now counts Redline, Philips Semiconductor and Fujitsu Microelectronics of America among its licensees.

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El Hamamsy said Wi-Lan's technology patents are necessary for the implementation of a number of wireless standards, including Wi-Fi and WiMax.

"It is our intent to collect, either directly or through component manufacturers, royalties from any company selling 802.11a, 802.11g or WiMax-certified equipment," El Hamamsy said.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco said in a statement: "Wi-Lan claims that its patents are related to industry standards and appears to be applying the patents to the Wi-Fi industry as a whole. We will respond as appropriate after reviewing the claims."

Wi-Lan's legal maneuvers come as the broadband wireless market is starting to heat up.

Cisco was one of several vendors this week to launch new products. Cisco's Metropolitan Mobile Network solution aims to provide wireless broadband access to public sector agencies on a citywide basis.

Proxim launched release 2.0 of its Tsunami MP.11 family of point-to-multipoint broadband wireless solutions, which adds a roaming feature targeted at wireless ISPs as well as the public safety and transportation markets.

The new roaming feature, for instance, would allow cameras in trains, subways and other vehicles to transfer online video streams at 25 frames per second. For now, the Tsunami MP.11 subscriber units would be placed on moving vehicles and would work where they can roam between other Tsunami base station units.

Other vendors such as Colubris Networks and Orthogon Systems are also actively targeting the broadband wireless market.

MARIE LINGBLOM contributed to this story.