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US company launches Power-over-Ethernet litigation

20 September, 2011

A US company, Network-1 Security Solutions, has initiated patent litigation against 16 networking equipment manufacturers – including Alcatel-Lucent, Dell, GarrettCom, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, NEC and Sony – accusing them of infringing a patent it holds covering the powering of equipment remotely via 10/100 switched Ethernet networks. Network-1 is seeking monetary damages based on “reasonable” royalties.

The patent (US patent 6,218,930) relates to, among other things, a technology used in equipment that complies with the IEEE 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standard, approved in June 2003 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. PoE delivers power over Ethernet cables to devices such as wireless switches, RFID card readers and networked cameras. The patent was granted in 2001 and expires in 2020.

Network-1 has previously settled disputes with several other networking companies including Adtran, Cisco, 3Com and D-Link, for infringing the same patent. It currently has 11 licensees for the remote power patent. 

"We have made repeated efforts, at considerable expense, to license the remote power patent on reasonable terms to companies manufacturing and selling Power-over-Ethernet technology," says Corey Horowitz, Network-1’s chairman and chief executive. “We hope that the remainder of the industry will license our patented technology, rather than devote substantial resources to continued litigation."

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