Wi-LAN, a Canadian company founded in 1992 to commercialize wireless networking technology, a couple of years ago decided to refocus its business on “developing, protecting and monetizing patented inventions” when it was facing a fast-approaching bankruptcy.
According to its website, its portfolio today includes more than 800 patented inventions, either developed in-house or acquired or licensed from third parties.
This morning, Wi-LAN announced that it is suing just about every mobile phone and laptop maker in the world in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging that these companies are infringing Wi-LAN’s U.S. Patent No. 5,515,369 by making and/or selling various products enabled with Bluetooth technology.
The list of companies that Wi-LAN is targeting is long, but just to give you an idea: it includes corporations like Apple, Sony, Toshiba, Dell, LG, Intel, Texas Instruments, Acer and Motorola.
Wi-LAN will be represented in this action by law firm McKool Smith, the same firm that got VirnetX a $105.75 million patent infringement verdict in its lawsuit against Microsoft a couple of weeks ago. It’s also the same firm that in May 2009 helped i4i win a $200 million lawsuit against Microsoft (the awards were later lifted to $290 million after review).
We’re trying to obtain more details about the case, but here’s the summary description of the patent, which is titled “Method for frequency sharing and frequency punchout in frequency hopping communications network”, for starters:
In a wireless packet communication system having a plurality of nodes, each having a transmitter and a receiver, the receiver at each node is assigned a seed value and is provided with a channel punchout mask. A node uses its seed value and punchout mask to generate a specific randomly ordered channel hopping band plan on which to receive signals. A node transmits its seed value and punchout mask to target nodes with which it wants to establish communication links, and those target nodes each use the seed value and punchout mask to generate the randomly ordered channel hopping band plan for that node. Subsequently, when one of the target nodes wish to transmit to the node, the target node changes frequency to the frequency of the node according to that node’s band plan.
Click here for the entire document (PDF).