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Two California-based technology companies will face off in federal court in Salt Lake City in a patent battle involving a device that enables high-speed Internet access from laptops and other devices. 3Com Corp., of Santa Clara, Calif., which spun off its Palm Inc. hand-held-device division earlier this year, announced the filing of the patent infringement suit on Aug. 18. 3Com v. Xircom, 200CV043G. 3Com claims that Xircom Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., is using 3Com’s patented technology in its PC cards, which make it possible for computers and hand-held devices to hook up rapidly to the Internet over digital or telephone lines. 3Com is charging Xircom with violating patents for two different technologies. The ’953 patent is for a “contact block” that makes communication easier between a telephone line and the laptop or other device. The ’898, ’660 and ’836 patents are for technology that guards a computer from being damaged by excess voltage from an accidental connection to the wrong kind of telephone line. FILED ON MAY 25 The suit was filed on May 25. Xircom was not served until Aug. 18, while the companies attempted to negotiate a settlement. 3Com filed in Salt Lake City because the company’s PC card division is Utah-based. Officials of the companies were unavailable, but both placed press releases about the case on their corporate Web sites. Xircom General Counsel Randall Holiday said that his company will “mount an aggressive response” to the infringement charges, which he characterized as baseless. SETTLEMENT SOUGHT 3Com’s release acknowledged that the two companies had tried to avoid litigation. “We proactively employed reasonable business means to resolve the issue outside of the courts, but were unable to reach a resolution with Xircom,” said Jef Graham, senior vice president and general manager of 3Com’s Commercial and Consumer Business Unit.

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