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Palm Loses Graffiti Lawsuit

Palm Inc. and 3Com have lost a patent lawsuit with Xerox. A judge ruled today that Graffiti does infringe on a patent Xerox holds on a handwriting recognition method, called Unistrokes.

The lawsuit will now move on the the penalty phase. The court will decide if Palm has to pay damages and if it is allowed to continue to use the technology. Xerox will urge the court to either require Palm to stop using Graffiti entirely or pay royalties.

Update: Palm has just announced that it will appeal this ruling. "We assert that the Graffiti handwriting technology does not infringe the Xerox patent and that Palm has strong arguments to support its defense," said Eric Benhamou, chairman and CEO. "Palm will defend itself vigorously and does not intend for this litigation to affect its business strategy or business model nor that of its licensees."

Xerox sued U.S. Robotics, which was later bought by 3Com, back in 1997, claiming that Graffiti infringed a patent Xerox received in 1997. Palm was later spun off from 3Com.

Xerox originally filed for its patent in October of 1993. The first handhelds running the Palm OS, the Pilot 1000 and Pilot 5000, were released in April of 1996 by U.S. Robotics. These included Graffiti. A question not yet answered is why Jeff Hawkins didn't file for a patent on Graffiti earlier when he had been developing the idea since the 80s.

In June of last year, a judge dismissed the suit on the grounds that Graffiti wasn't similar enough to Unistrokes. In October, the suit was reinstated and moved to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York

Judge Michael Telesca declared today that Xerox's patent is "valid and enforceable", and that Graffiti does infringe on it.

It is not yet known whether Xerox plans to sue other makers of handheld operating systems, like Microsoft, who also include some form of handwriting recognition.

"Xerox always aggressively defends its patent portfolio -- a valuable corporate asset. Today's ruling vindicates our position that our handwriting-recognition patent was infringed. Either Palm will have to cease production of its hand-held organizer or license the technology from Xerox," said Christina Clayton, Xerox general counsel.

Thanks to montyburns and Dennis for the tips. -Ed

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bad news

popko @ 12/20/2001 5:05:57 PM #
With Palm's current financial stats, Xerox is simply adding firewood to let it burn faster.

RE: Palm's going to be for sale soon
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 2:53:37 AM #
looks like palm's going to be bought soon....
wonder who it will be????

RE: bad news
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 10:56:05 AM #
no one has been looking into buying palm. not even apple! If there was one, i would guess earthlink. My reason is they have been trying to enter the pda world with a wireless add on for 3 years around now. Now they finally got in and might want more.
PDANature - reviews, commentarys, hourly refreshed pda news, and whatnot! Check it out @ http://pdan.has.it


Can you say Uh-Oh!

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:06:41 PM #
Not good. I wonder if this is why the Handspring TREO is moving towards the integrated keyboards instead of Graffiti?

RE: Can you say Uh-Oh!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:23:16 PM #
Oh, wait, I think I invented the QWERTY systems back in 2000, but don't ask me why we've been using it since the '80s, because I will sue you, sue you, and sue you.

Mxrxn
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 11:33:15 AM #
QWERTY is a standard keyboard layout .....

RE: Can you say Uh-Oh!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 11:56:30 AM #
...it's called sarcasm.

RE: Can you say Uh-Oh!
TROLL @ 12/21/2001 7:14:11 PM #
You couldn't have invented the QWERTY keyboard in 2000. I've been using them since the 1980s when I invented the first QWERTY keyboard by using Chiclets gum and Krazy glue.

My lawyers willl be in touch.

****************************************
The trolls always have the last laugh...

And the hits just keeps on coming...

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:14:33 PM #
hope palm survives this one.

RE: And the hits just keeps on coming...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 6:27:27 PM #
How do you spell "APPEAL"?

This is far from being over.

More like love taps
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 11:41:20 AM #
Palm's stock price is UP today. No one believes Palm is going anywhere. Xerox is just hoping to make some money off them. If Xerox does get royalties, demanding compensatory damages that put Palm out of business would kill the cash cow.

All of this is far from over. Bear Sterns analyst Andy Neff said "It's the kind of thing that puts lawyers' kids through college."

Why not go after Microsoft too?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:19:36 PM #
Just an additional thought, if Xerox is going after Graffiti under the PalmOS doesn't seems likely they should also sue Microsoft (chicken do I hear?)

Microsoft's handwriting recognition used on the PPC uses some of the same keystrokes as Graffiti... Or is Xerox in bed with Microsoft and trying to do Palm in?

Anyone have any detailed insight into the lawsuit? It's the first I've heard of it. The above question is not based on any facts, just theory.

RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:27:44 PM #
Sorry, just read this part "It is not yet known whether Xerox plans to sue other makers of handheld operating systems, like Microsoft, who also include some form of handwriting recognition."

RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
Coyote67 @ 12/20/2001 8:44:01 PM #
It is yet unknown whether xerox, a company who is in a lot of financial trouble and is looking for anyone to leech off will sue microsoft, a company who will squish them like a bug. Stay tuned.

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
Cheetah @ 12/21/2001 12:41:30 AM #
The new PPC 2002 OS has a new handwriting option that is almost identical to Graffiti. M$ intentionally added it to the PPC to lure away Palm users.

Can't see how Xerox would NOT sure M$ also.

RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 12:45:10 AM #
Perhaps they're using Palm as a stepping stone... Since Xerox is in a financial hole, it'll get some money from Palm with which to take Microsoft on. :)

RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 11:52:09 AM #
Microsoft, I believe, licensed Unistrokes from Xerox to avoid this very problem.

RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
Scott @ 12/21/2001 1:45:26 PM #
Or perhaps to add credibility to Xerox's suit?


RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
Coyote67 @ 12/21/2001 6:48:40 PM #
You have anything actually factual to back this up anonymous?

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
TROLL @ 12/21/2001 6:58:03 PM #
FACT: Xerox is clutching at straws and is looking for a cash cow (licensing fees from the dominant PDA maker).

FACT: Palm will appeal this decision and probably win this case.

FACT: Xerox cannot afford to antagonize Microsoft. No company can. Furthermore, Microsoft has already licensed a variation of Xerox's character set.

FACT: Palm has wasted tens of millions in recent years fighting nuisance suits from golddiggers like Xerox. It's a shame companies have to deal with nonsense like this. This is (a small part of the reason) why Palm tries to sell it's PDAs for as much as they do.

Welcome to Big Business 101.
Our first lesson is how to take advantage of others while avoiding being taken advantage of.

****************************************
The trolls always have the last laugh...

RE: Why not go after Microsoft too?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 10:12:35 AM #
Here is one place it's been reported, Coyote. It's been reported in a number of places that Microsoft is safe from any legal action because they have a license from Xerox.

http://www.writingonyourpalm.net/column011224.htm

Xerox is hurting financially...

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:33:04 PM #
And they will vigorously go after any cash cow they possibly can. With punitive damages, the penalty could be like $20 for every PalmOS unit ever sold. How many PalmOS units have been sold since 1996? 10 million? That's $200 Million bucks that Palm doesn't have. Can you say "BANKRUPTCY"?

RE: Xerox is hurting financially...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:37:47 PM #
Not to mention how this can effect their Licensees?

What about SONY, HandEra, Symbol, Handspring and Samsung? A license for the PalmOS was sold by Palm to the handheld makers. What if Xerox Demands $20 of Palm for the license to these folks too? What if the Graffiti license is higher than the sale price for the OS? Since they now legally own Graffiti, they can charge whatever they want. This is REALLY bad news for Palm. The only product that may be safe is the Keyboard enabled TREO that does not rely on Graffiti at all.

RE: Xerox is hurting financially...
Ed @ 12/20/2001 5:57:28 PM #
Considering that each of the licensees pays less than a $10 fee for each handheld, I think Xerox would have a hard time arguing that they should be paid $20 just for the handwriting recognition. About $1 or maybe $2 seems more reasonable to me. I believe about 17 million Palm OS handhelds have been sold over the years. That works out to, at most, $34 million. Not chump change but Palm has $241 in cash right now.

Also, you can be sure that Palm will appeal this decision. It may be years before any money is actually paid, if ever.

---
News Editor

RE: Xerox is hurting financially...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 6:11:36 PM #
Xerox have always produced crap products, and after looking at Unistrokes I can see that they've racked up another! Who in their right mind would want to use such an awful system?!?

May Xerox and their lawyers rot in hell!


RE: Xerox is hurting financially...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 11:11:20 PM #
I was wondering, does Gates has Xerox stocks ???

RE: Xerox is hurting financially...
Scott @ 12/21/2001 1:50:55 PM #
Microsoft teamed up with Xerox not long ago in a joint effort for digital licensing technology (as in ebooks, music, etc.). This arrangement resulted in MS giving Xerox a boost financially. Note that this was just the past couple of years. Xerox was awarded their patent in 1/97 and filed suit three months later in 4/97.

Scott

Earlier Than That Even.

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:36:21 PM #
Even before the Pilot 1000 and 5000, like in 1993 or 1994 you could install Grafitti on a Newton as a software package rather than use the built in HWR. Not sure who was the developer/distributor of that. But it was the same Grafitti that the Pilot used/uses.

RE: Earlier Than That Even.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 5:38:50 PM #
I thought AL GORE INVENTED GRAFFITI???!!!!

RE: Earlier Than That Even.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 6:18:52 PM #
The version for the Newton came from Palm Computing! Before they managed to get the Pilot out the door.

RE: Earlier Than That Even.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 10:43:28 PM #
The Newton HWR (Codename Rosetta) was developed by Apple Computers. In fact there working at the same time 3 independent HWR machines in the Newton. And the recognition is far better rhan anything on the market today

And I user my Newton MP 2001G (side by side to a army of Palms) every day - the Palm is no match for "the old green"

The Newton is in so many ways superior and much more elegant and refined to Palm that one could fill 1.000 pages - and not get to the end.

Boris von Luhovoy
publishing editor
Palmtop-pro Magazine
www.palmtop.at

RE: Earlier Than That Even.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 10:57:49 PM #

Yes, yes, yes, we all know the MP2100 HWR was the best we have seen in the world of computing to date, but obviously you did not have an OMP (Original MessagePad) that was released in 1993. The HWR, in a word, sucked. Hell, even the Simpson's made fun of it with the "Eat Up Martha" joke.
Anyways, one of the first apps that was released for the Newton was Graffiti. A little box popped up in the corner of the screen and you wrote in the box vs. where you normally would. One of many by the character input softwares, actually, another being Gesture Mosaic, anyone remember that one? So. Who the hell was that that released Graffiti in 1993? Not Xerox...



RE: Earlier Than That Even.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 10:50:02 AM #
I worked in a computer lab in college back in '93. Somehow we got a Newton in and I messed around with it for a couple of weeks. I don't know if it got any better after that, but i thought the HWR was pretty bad. I consider Grafitti to be much better.

RE: Earlier Than That Even.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 11:36:29 AM #
Maybe it's because of your bad handwriting ......

Anyone remember Graffiti on the Newton?

Token @ 12/20/2001 5:36:06 PM #
This predates the use of Graffiti in the Palm OS to sometime in the early 90's.

When will judges presiding on tech cases be required to have knowledge of the tech industry before handing down rulings? I guess that the "prior art" defense for patent infringement didn't work for Palm in this case.

RE: Anyone remember Graffiti on the Newton?
MadMax @ 12/20/2001 10:20:29 PM #
Newton Handwriting was far more advanced than Graffiti. Not to knock Grafitti, I use it everyday. But, the Newton's Handwriting could understand print as well as cursive. There was no "one stroke" writing there.

Road Warrior

RE: Anyone remember Graffiti on the Newton?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 12:15:58 AM #
Umm, yes there was - you could get Grafitti for the Newton. Exactly the same as the version we all know on the Palm. It was written by Palm (Jeff) for the Newton.

Graffiti on Newton is Just LAME
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/21/2001 1:45:14 AM #
Newton already got the most advanced HWR. I still don't understand why they port Graffiti on Newton. Not that I don't want to thank him for writing software for Newton, but thanks but no thanks. It's like porting windows on a Mac.

RE: Anyone remember Graffiti on the Newton?
Token @ 12/21/2001 12:53:16 PM #
Did you ever own a Newton? The handwriting recognition was OK, but not brilliant (there were a number of Doonsbery stripes about the handwriting recognition at the time). Graffiti was a replacement for the natural handwriting "digital ink" transcription that the Newton used. By using a standardised set of keystrokes, input accuracy was increased dramatically.
Yes, it was Jeff Hawkins that wrote the original Graffiti package for the Newton (an archive I saw had version 1.0 dated as October '94).

I think the Xerox patent is not for the strokes used in unistroke vs graffiti (or jot for that matter), but over the use of a standardised set of movements to represent characters to a digital device. This patent is as stupid as Amazons "One Click Checkout" patent.

RE: Anyone remember Graffiti on the Newton?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/23/2001 1:02:53 AM #
"Did you ever own a Newton? The handwriting recognition was OK, but not brilliant (there were a number of Doonsbery stripes about the handwriting recognition at the time). Graffiti was a replacement for the natural handwriting "digital ink" transcription that the Newton used."

in fact I do own a Newton, and I am Still using one, actually I sold my first and only palm pilot Pro for a newton 2100, that's why I know how much better HWR on Newton is.

The graffiti thingy might be useful back in 1994, but with the release of MP130 and MP2x00 series Newton has pretty much perfected it's HWR "print recognizer" technology. it would be really stupid for Newton user to "replace" the built-in HWR with Graffiti.

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