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Symbol's Patent Play

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Enterprise wireless LAN company Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL) could be gunning for more patent licensing deals with smaller vendors, following its recent settlement with Proxim Corp. (Nasdaq: PROX). (See Proxim Settles With Symbol.)

Chris Quilty, analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc., writes in a research note that the Symbol/Proxim case involved a number of patents that are "fundamental" to the 802.11 standard. Therefore, he reckons, Symbol could use the $23 million settlement as a lever in "a targeted campaign against low-end equipment vendors that possess no intellectual property position."

"That's my supposition -- it's not supported by anything the company has said," Quilty told Unstrung on Friday. "But they are extremely litigious, and they've been successful at it... I'm just connecting the dots.

"I don't think Symbol would be bold enough to go out and sue companies with broad IP portfolios, like 3Com or Cisco. But, you know, they could pick off the Asian import companies or the wireless LAN switch manufacturers that have been bothering them."

Symbol hadn't found anyone that could address this issue by press time.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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