Palm Computing has won a preliminary court injunction preventing Olivetti Office USA from selling its Royal daVinci, a handheld PDA (personal digital assistant) that Palm claims is using its copyrighted operating system.

The injunction, issued yesterday in a US District Court in San Jose, also applies to the daVinci Software Development Kit, distributed by CompanionLink Software. The kit makes the daVinci operating system source code available for developers to write applications on.

CompanionLink simply distributed the developer kit provided to them by Olivetti, said Chip Weinert, CompanionLink's marketing director.

Last month, Palm also gained an injunction in Hong Kong's High Court against local software developer Echolink Design. The injunction orders Echolink to stop distributing the Palm operating system, or Echolink's NEXUS OS source code, that Palm alleged is used in the daVinci and violates its copyrights.

Palm, a subsidiary of 3Com, alleges that portions of its Palm OS were duplicated verbatim in the daVinci.

The San Jose court injunction will remain in effect pending the outcome of a lawsuit Palm has filed.

A court-sponsored review found several similarities in the source code in the Palm operating system and the OS in the daVinci, including common grammatical errors, Palm's trademark, and private system source code files containing identical internal data structures, US District Judge James Ware wrote in his order.

Efforts yesterday to reach Olivetti Office USA or its Royal subsidiary were unsuccessful.

A Palm official said the company would act to protect its intellectual property rights. "Palm's primary objective is to protect the integrity of our platform," Alan Kessler, Palm's president, said in a statement.