Smart card vendor E-Pass Technologies has filed a law suit against Palm, alleging that the Santa Clara, California-based company infringed on a 1994 patent to develop the PalmPilot electronic organizer.

The suit was filed Monday in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. It claims E-Pass founder Hartmut Hennige owned the patent for a "multi-function, credit-card-sized computer" for users to store account numbers, personal identification numbers, access information and other data, E-Pass said in its statement.

3Com didn't return calls by press time.

The suit was filed two days before Palm announced that its initial public offering (IPO) share price has been set at $38.

Formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of 3Com, Palm will be a separate, publicly traded company after the IPO has been completed. Palm is offering 23 million shares of common stock.