updated 08:25 am EST, Fri December 10, 2010
Novatel sues Franklin and ZTE over MiFi patents
Novatel on Friday filed a lawsuit against both Franklin and ZTE for allegedly violating five patents relating to its MiFi routers. The Southern District of California complaint argued that Novatel invented the core concept of a portable 3G router. Both Franklin and ZTE were trying to profit off of Novatel's success by copying the architecture and functionality, according to the company.
"Competitors need to rely on their own inventions rather than infringe on ours," CEO Peter Leparulo said.
Neither Franklin nor ZTE had the opportunity to comment as of Friday morning. Either is relatively new to routers, though ZTE has lately been comparatively unique by introducing its Peel 3G case for the iPod touch.
The MiFi is widely considered to be the first mainstream portable router of its kind and is near ubiquitous, being found on most major US carriers as well as many in Canada and Europe. It isn't necessarily the first, however, as CradlePoint routers have provided similar functionality for years. It's not clear if Novatel intends to argue that the MiFi has a unique design advantage.