Proxim Loses Patent Dispute with Symbol

Proxim Loses Patent Dispute with Symbol

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Written By Eric Sandler

Courts have upheld a ruling from last year forcing Proxim to pay it is rival $23 million, plus another $3 million in interest.

In September of last year, a Delaware court ordered Proxim of Sunnyvale, Calif., to pay $23 million to Symbol Technologies of Holtsville, N.Y. The money was for damages over patent infringement.

Today, the two companies announced that the United States District Court for the District of Delaware has reaffirmed this ruling in what Proxim calls a denial of its “equitable defense.”

The $23 million dollars awarded by the jury last year was based on a 6% royalty on sales of Proxim wireless products from 1995 to 2003. The court has also tacked on a $3 million dollar payment of interest, bringing the total to $25.9 million in damages.

This ruling, however, does not impact Proxim’s future sales of 802.11/Wi-Fi products. Symbol also had asked the court to impose a royalty on future Proxim product sales, but the court denied the request.

Symbol, which is a leader in the barcode scanning business, is highly ranked in sales of enterprise wireless equipment, along with Proxim and Cisco. According to¬†Synergy Research Group, they are the top three. Symbol’s stock price at press time was up $0.67 to $12.97 per share.

Proxim had originally sued Symbol, Cisco, 3Com , and others for patent infringement in 2001. The other cases were settled. Symbol countersued with its own patent infringement charges in May of that year.

Proxim says it has accrued all the money to be paid since the initial verdict, and the payout will not impact it is financial statements, nor do they expect to have any financial obligation to Symbol in the future due to the ruling. The company has had some financial struggles of late, and just this week announced a loss of $3.3 million for the second quarter of 2004 on sales of $31.4 million, which is up slightly from the same time last year. The company saw a bump in stock price in June when it announced work on WiMax products with chip leader Intel , but has seen that gain erode steadily. At press time, stock price was $0.80 a share.

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