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November 11, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 4:34pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Rockwell Semiconductor Corp has finally lost patience with Bay Networks Inc and has sued the licensee of its K56flex modem technology over the terms of their license agreement. Rockwell says Bay has breached the terms of the agreement and its actions competitively disadvantage K56flex licensees. This is all presumably a reference to Bay’s licensing in of the rival x2 56kbps technology from 3Com Corp’s US Robotics Inc. Neither company returned our calls by press time to tell us one way or another. Bay licensed K56flex in March and x2 in June, and said at that time that it chose to license x2 because of the delays in the K56flex development, which is done jointly by Rockwell and Lucent Technologies Inc. Bay said in June it would enable the rival technologies to both work in its Multi- Service Access Switch (MSX) line. When it launched its Model 800 remote Access Controller (RAC) in August, Bay said its software implementations of x2 and K56flex would be available this month respectively and the RAC was also said to support both. Rockwell itself recently felt the sting of a lawsuit from the inventor of 56kbps technology, Brent Townshend, who alleged that Rockwell’s implementation used some of his patented proprietary technology that he had already licensed to 3Com. Rockwell’s partner Lucent said in September that it would not pay Townshend the $1.25 or so license fee for each modem then changed its mind two weeks later and agreed to cough up. 3Com has already agreed to pay Townshend. All this litigious wrangling is holding up the development of a common 56kbps standard, which is likely to be ratified by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) early in the new year when the two sides come together.

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