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Motorola Sues Aruba

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
8/28/2007

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), through its subsidiaries Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL) and Wireless Valley Communications Inc. , is suing Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) for wireless LAN patent infringements and is seeking a permanent injunction against Aruba's use of the technologies. (See Moto Sues Aruba Networks.) Motorola claims that Aruba uses wireless LAN switching architecture technology based on two patents that Symbol developed. Motorola also claims that Aruba uses wireless LAN site planning and radiofrequency (RF) management technology based on two patents developed by Wireless Valley.

An Aruba spokesman said he could not comment on the lawsuit. (See Aruba's IPO Fillip.)

Symbol wants a permanent injunction against Aruba to stop it from using these technologies and is also seeking damages for the infringement. The company says it is mainly interested in stopping Aruba from using the technologies.

"Our goal is to exclude Aruba from using the technologies, not authorize their use in exchange for money," says Aaron Bernstein, vice president of intellectual property at Symbol.

Motorola acquired Symbol in September last year for $3.9 billion in cash. The acquisition catapulted Motorola to the No. 2 position in the market for enterprise wireless LANs. (See Motorola Confirms Symbol Buyout, Motorola's Vertical Leap, Moto's Symbolic Convergence, and Next Up in the M&A Parade.)

Symbol is no stranger to patent litigation. The company sued Proxim Wireless Corp. in a countersuit regarding the 802.11 standard protocol, which resulted in Proxim paying $23 million to Symbol in a settlement. (See Symbol's Patent Play, Proxim Settles With Symbol, Proxim Has a Debt Dilemma , Proxim on the Ropes, Proxim Faces D-Day, and Proxim Sells Assets for $21M.)

Symbol has also been involved in patent disputes related to bar code scanning technology. (See Symbol Sues Intermec and Symbol Beats Metrologic.)

If the lawsuit against Aruba goes to trial, it is not likely to happen for another 20 to 30 months, according to Symbol's Bernstein. But he observes that most patent litigation is settled before trial.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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