Wireless vendor Symbol Technologies recently won a patent violation case against Proxim.

Proxim paid the company $23 million in damages, and the case could affect WiFi vendors using 802.11 standards, speculates Techworld.

"The patent that was found to be infringed, is a standard feature on every 802.11 access point," said Ben Gibson, vice president of marketing at Proxim. The feature - power save - is built into standard WiFi chipsets but, according to the jury's decision, does not infringe the Symbol patent until the chipset is built into a system. This means that every other WiFi system vendor could be in line for a letter from Symbol's legal team, asking for 6 per cent royalties.

This could amount to tens of millions a year for Symbol. The Wi-Fi market - the greatest part of which is access points - was $658 million in the last quarter, according to analysts Synergy Research Group Inc.

Symbol, for its part, is talking about a licensing program rather than a lawsuit-fest. "Proxim made an enormous effort to stop our licensing effort. They failed, and our entitlement to a 6 per cent royalty has now been tested and validated by jury and judge," Symbol's general counsel, Peter Lieb, told Techworld. "There are a lot of companies who need our technology, and it is only right that we get fair royalties."

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