Optical/IP Networks

Wi-LAN Takes On WiFi

Wireless equipment manufacturer Wi-LAN Inc. (Toronto: WIN) is taking Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to court in Canada in a move that dramatically widens the scope of its claims to hold patent rights over a specific modulation scheme used in wireless LAN, metro-area, and wide-area networking.

Previously, Wi-LAN had been largely targeting rivals in the fixed wireless space that it claimed were infringing on its orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) patents. The company recently settled a similar patent dispute with Redline Communications Inc. (see Wi-LAN Settles With Redline).

Now, Wi-LAN has shifted gear and is targeting vendors that offer 802.11a (54 Mbit/s over 5GHz) and 802.11g (54 Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) wireless LAN products. Both these variants of the 802.11 specification implement OFDM as a modulation scheme.

Wi-LAN is making no bones about its intentions. "This legal action against Cisco puts the industry on notice that Wi-LAN will aggressively protect its patent rights," says Sayed-Amr (Sisso) El Hamamsy, president and CEO of Wi-LAN, in a statement. "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."

There are no further details about the timescale of Wi-LAN's Canadian legal move yet.

For its part, Cisco is still examining the claim. "Wi-LAN claims that its patents are related to industry standards and appears to be applying the patents to the WiFi industry as a whole," a spokesperson told Unstrung. "We will respond as appropriate after reviewing the claims."

— Dan "Sissy" Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

Sign In