Motorola subsidiaries sue Aruba over WLAN patent infringements: Are others next?

Motorola and Aruba Networks have joined the growing list of tech companies haggling about patent infringements. Wireless Valley Communication and Symbol Technologies, Motorola subsidiaries, are suing Aruba Networks for infringement of four patents associated with WLAN switching architecture and management technology.

In their suit, Wireless Valley Communications charges that Aruba Networks is knowingly infringing on two patents related to WLAN site planning and RF management tools--US patents No. 6,625,454 and No. 6,973,622. Symbol Technologies makes the same claim regarding US patents No. 7,173,922 and No. 7,173,923.

In an August 28, 2007 NetworkWorld article, Aaron Bernstein, vice president and deputy chief counsel at Symbol, described the rational for the lawsuit:

"All of Aruba's WLAN switch, site planning and radio-frequency management and monitoring products infringe the patents, and they have since the company began selling its first products."

Berstein also indicated that Motorola isn't interested in licensing the technology to Aruba:

"The companies don't want to license the technology to Aruba, but to stop the company from using it."

Motorola's decision not to seek license fees and royalty payments is unusual and has analysts puzzled about Motorola's motives. In a September 3, 2007 NetworkWorld article, Berstein refused to comment on the possibility of additional patent infringement lawsuits. His comments have analysts speculating that Motorola may soon file suit against other companies, such as Trapeze Networks or Meru Networks.