Business Briefs

SPIN-OFF: Silicon Graphics spins off MediaBase softwareSilicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) last week spun off its MediaBase streaming server software into a new company called Kasenna. SGI announced plans in August to spin off the media-streaming application as well as its engineering team and technology as part of a reorganization strategy. MediaBase software is designed to offer Web-based streaming networking, content, and operations management services, SGI officials said. MediaBase supports all leading media-streaming standards, including RealSystem G2, QuickTime, and higher-bit-rate MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, according to SGI officials. The spin-off is seen as a strategy for raising the cash needed to pursue market share in the area of streaming, SGI officials said.

SETTLEMENT: Informix settles securities chargesINFORMIX HAS settled charges brought by securities regulators stating the company fraudulently inflated revenues and earnings between 1994 and 1997, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced last week.

In a case that was filed and settled on the same day last week, the database software vendor is accused of "fraudulently and otherwise improperly" inflating revenue by $295 million and earnings by $244 million between 1994 and the first quarter of 1997, according to officials at the SEC.

Informix agreed to the settlement without admitting to or denying the SEC's findings, and the commission's investigation continues, the SEC announced. The SEC reported that former employees of Informix violated anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws as well as the reporting, books and records, and internal control provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Informix was ordered to stop violating various securities laws and cooperate with the SEC's continuing investigation. Informix officials said no monetary fines or penalties were imposed on the company, and Informix will cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

PATENT DISPUTE: Xerox to press software patent suit against 3ComTHE U.S. PATENT and Trademark Office has confirmed the validity of a Xerox software patent, clearing the way for Xerox to pursue a patent infringement case against 3Com. The lawsuit alleges that the handwriting-recognition software used in 3Com's Palm devices belongs to Xerox.

In January 1997, Xerox received the patent for Unistrokes, a handwriting technology that allows users to input information into a computer by printing letters in a special shorthand. Three months later, Xerox sued U.S. Robotics (later purchased by 3Com) in U.S. District Court, in Rochester, N.Y., claiming it used the technology in its strong-selling Palm handheld computers.

Both 3Com and Xerox recently asked U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca, who is hearing the case, to lift a stay so that the suit can proceed, according to a clerk for Telesca.

The judge has not yet lifted the stay but will soon schedule a conference, the clerk said. In October, Telesca denied 3Com's motion to dismiss the case.

Telesca imposed the stay pending the ruling from the Patent and Trademark Office.

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More about 3Com AustraliaInformixKasennaPatent and Trademark OfficeSECSecurities and Exchange CommissionSGI AustraliaSilicon GraphicsXerox

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