Intermec Technologies Corp., a pioneer in automated data capture technologies, on Wednesday filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware charging Symbol Technologies of Holtsville, New York, with infringement of Intermec intellectual property related to key Intermec wireless access, terminal and software technologies. Symbol products infringe six Intermec patents, according to the lawsuit.
"Symbol's unauthorised use of Intermec's patents is a clear violation of patent law and involves a substantial part of Symbol's automated data capture product line," said Intermec President Tom Miller.
The patents cover: a coherent, integrated wireless data capture system capable of distributing data over a network; portable, battery-powered data processing devices capable of running a multi-tasking operating system; and handheld portable data capture devices with graphical user interfaces (GUI), the ability to accept handwritten information and the ability to process that information. Intermec is seeking damages and a permanent injunction to prohibit further infringement of Intermec patents.
A Symbol decision earlier this month to breach the terms of a supply contract with Intermec and to assert unfounded patent infringement claims against Intermec "frees us to defend ourselves against Symbol's claims and to prosecute our own patent infringement claims against Symbol," Miller said. "We owe it to our customers, our shareholders and the industry to strongly fend off Symbol's attempt to collect royalties for public domain technology and to stop Symbol's unlawful use of our patented inventions."
On March 10, Symbol abruptly breached a supply contract with Intermec for laser scan engines. "Intermec had been anticipating this for some time," Miller said. "Symbol's decision will have no effect on Intermec business operations."
Intermec has multiple levels of protection against disruption, the company said: a substantial and long-term supply of Symbol scan engine inventory, additional outside sources of laser scan engines based on technology licensed by Symbol, and a full range of imagers not impacted by Symbol's recent actions. In addition, later this year Intermec will introduce into the U.S. its own non-infringing EXCELerate laser scan engine, the next-generation of laser scanning technology.
Simultaneous with its suit to enforce its wireless access, terminal and software patents against Symbol, Intermec filed responses to the earlier Symbol claims, denying that Symbol had the legal right to terminate the laser scan engine supply agreement and asserting that Symbol wrongfully terminated that agreement.
Patent disputes of this type are typically resolved in negotiations between manufacturers without involving end users. "That's what we expect to happen here," Miller said. "Intermec has no plan to sue end-users over RFID or other patented technologies it controls".
"Intermec looks forward to an open discussion of these issues in the courts and welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate and sustain Intermec's technology leadership in the ADC industry," he said. "Our determination to protect our ability to innovate reflects our commitment to the success of our customers and partners and the prosperity of our shareholders."