An appeals court judge has handed Xerox a partial victory in a continuing lawsuit against Palm last week, but left the door open for Palm to appeal against a previous ruling.
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The long-running lawsuit centres on Graffiti, an input technology that is a central part of Palm's PDA platform.
The case dates from April 1997 when Xerox sued US Robotics, which was later acquired by 3Com. Xerox contended that the Graffiti input technology infringed on patents the company held for its Unistrokes handwriting recognition software. 3Com spun off Palm in early 2000.
The US Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by Palm lodged in December 2001. That ruling found that a patent held by Xerox regarding input technology was "valid and enforceable" as part of the case, in which Xerox sued Palm and 3Com.
The appeals court also found that the ruling did not sufficiently analyse issues related to whether Xerox's patent is enforceable, Xerox said.
Palm could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday's decision.
About a year ago, Palm was ordered to pay a $50m bond as insurance in the dispute.
On Thursday, Xerox asked the judge to block sales of Palm PDAs. It had made the same request a year earlier, when Palm was instructed to pay the bond, but was turned down then because the court ruled that continued sales of PDAs by Palm would not irreparably harm Xerox.