Palm and Xerox settle handwriting-recognition lawsuit

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Palm and Xerox settle handwriting-recognition lawsuit

Sunnyvale (CA) Palm and Xerox today announced that the two companies have settled patent infringement lawsuit involving the handwriting-recognition software “Graffiti”. The suit was filed by Xerox against Palm, a predecessor of today’s Palm, in April of 1997 – more than nine years ago.

In the suit, Xerox claimed that the handwriting-recognition technology marketed as Graffiti and formerly used in Palm OS handheld devices infringed a Xerox patent known as the Unistrokes patent. Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak told TG Daily that the suit only impacted the first generation of Graffiti and not the currently used Graffiti 2, which is based on a different technology foundation.

The Graffiti handwriting software was developed under the direction from Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, which are credited with the invention of the original “Palm Pilot” – the ancestor of the handheld computer as we know it today. Hawkins and Dubinsky later left Palm to found Handspring, the developer of the Treo smartphone, which later was acquired by a predecessor of today’s Palm.

Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky at the presentation of the Handspring Visor in 2000

According to the terms of agreement reached by Palm and Xerox, Palm will pay Xerox $22.5 million for a fully paid-up license for three Xerox patents, including Unistrokes, and a seven-year mutual covenant not to sue for patent infringement within mutually agreed fields of use. Palm will account for the license as a charge against earnings in its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006.

Palm’s co-defendants, including its PalmSource, a subsidiary of Access Co. and 3Com will receive a full and unconditional release from the litigation, and each is entitled to a fully paid-up license to the Unistrokes patent, Palm said.

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