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WinCE handheld vendors get kick up the Khyber

WinCE handheld vendors get kick up the Khyber

In a suit filed recently in a Federal District Court here, Khyber Technologies has alleged that Windows CE-based devices from five vendors have infringed a patent held by the small Ohio-based handheld device developer.

The suit names several handheld devices based on Microsoft's Windows CE operating system, including those from major vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and Philips Electronics NV, that allegedly have infringed upon a patent held by Khyber, according to a statement issued by Bingham Dana LLP, a Boston-based law firm representing Khyber in the case.

The patent in question, US Patent No. 5,696,496, was issued to Khyber on December 9, 1997, and covers among other things pocket-sized organisers capable of storing and non-sequentially retrieving audio messages and messages entered in handwriting, the statement said.

In the statement, Kyber alleged that Windows CE-based devices such as Casio Computer's Cassiopeia, Everex Systems' Freestyle, HP's Jornada, Philips' Nino and Uniden America's Unipro, all infringe upon at least eight of the patent's claims.

The suit is another blow to vendors of palm-sized Windows CE devices, which have not sold as well as many had expected.

Two of the vendors on the list, Everex Systems and Philips, have already said that they are pulling out of the market for Windows CE-based handheld devices.

Uniden America also appears to have quietly dropped out of the market.

A message saying "there are no current products in this category" greets visitors looking for information on palm-sized devices on the company's Web site at www.uniden.com.

Microsoft, meanwhile, earlier announced that it will drop the Windows CE name in favour of using the term "Windows powered" for devices that use the operating system.www.khyber.com


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