Wi-LAN is at it again. The Canadian licensing company, which some call a patent troll, has initiated two patent infringement lawsuits against 22 different companies over WiFi and DSL. The suits were filed in the Eastern District of Texas, where companies like to bring in lawsuits because of the courts reputation for moving swiftly on patent cases and awarding some fat damages to patent holders. Wi-LAN is charging infringement on three of its patents, two of which related to WiFi technology and one that has to do with power consumption on DSL products.
The companies being sued include some big names: Apple, Dell, Intel, Texas Instruments, Sony, Lenovo, Broadcom, Acer, Best Buy and Circuit City. During a conference call last week, Wi-LAN CEO Jim Skippen said Wi-LAN has plenty of funds to go after companies it says infringe on the company's patents.
Wi-LAN said it chose to sue now before it faces pre-emptive lawsuits from these companies. "We were concerned that we would be forced into other courts through declaratory-judgment actions if we did not sue virtually all of the likely defendants," Skippen said.
In 2005, Cisco and Wi-LAN settled their patent dispute. As part of the settlement, Cisco bought some, but not all, of the Wi-LAN's patents. Analysts at the time expected more lawsuits to come.