Palm, Inc. has just announced that it has settled a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Xerox Corp. nine years ago.
In April 1997, Xerox sued a predecessor to Palm, claiming that the Graffiti text-entry system formerly used in Palm OS handhelds infringed on a Xerox patent for a similar system, known as Unistrokes.
Since that time, Palm has stopped using Graffiti and switched to Graffiti 2, which does not infringe on Xerox’s patent.
Nevertheless, Palm agreed today to pay Xerox $22.5 million for a fully paid-up license for three Xerox patents, including Unistrokes.
This agreement includes PalmSource and 3Com, who were also named on the lawsuit.
So What Does This Mean?
Exactly what this means for the future of Graffiti is not known. Palm has said in the past that no matter what happens with the Xerox lawsuit it has no intention of giving up Graffiti 2, which it sees as a superior system.
Still, it now has to option of giving people the option of using either one. There’s a vocal group of Palm OS users who have called for this repeatedly.
Update: When asked about this possibility, a Palm spokesperson would only say, “I wouldn’t want to speculate. But the settlement does grant Palm complete design freedom when it comes to the selection of writing recognition software.”