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Palm Slaps daVinci With Injunction

3Com announced that Palm Computing has won a preliminary injunction against the sale of the Royal daVinci palm style PDA by Olivetti Office USA.

The injunction, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is based on findings that Palm demonstrated that a portion of the Palm OS operating system software may have been copied verbatim in the daVinci products. Palm also filed suit in Hong Kong for copyright infringement against Echolink Design, which developed the software for the daVinci.

Royal’s executive director of marketing, Bob Robinson, said that Royal will comply with the preliminary injunction but that it plans to rewrite portions of the daVinci OS and expects the new products to be in stores for the Christmas selling season.

“We take the allegations very seriously and we are trying to determine the merits. We’re investigating the Hong Kong based software developer we used to develop the software, but based on our knowledge of this so far, it pertains to a small number of files which may have been obtained by shareware.”

Robinson claimed the suit, filed for copyright infringement on July 22, came as a complete surprise. “The timing was curious because the product has been out for about a year and we find out about this July 23 and Palm introduces new products about a week later. We were all unaware of any infringement element, if there is any, and clearly if we had copied the Palm OS we would be able to run Palm applications which we cannot.”

Palm said in a prepared statement that it intends to protect its intellectual property which “benefits the investment in Palm’s platform and the product made by Palm’s many licensees, [and] over 18,000 Palm development partners.”

The daVinci is a 2MB palm-style organizer which offers PC cradle synchronization and which begins at an estimated street price of $99.

Palm just debuted a new clear case version of the Palm III aimed at the student market, called the Palm IIIe. The new product is being sold at 10 university bookstores at an estimated retail price of $229 and is offered with an optional $12.95 colored flip cover.