HickoryTech settles DSL patent dispute with Brandywine

HickoryTech (Nasdaq: HTCO) has reached a settlement with Brandywine Communications Technologies over six DSL broadband-related patents.

This agreement resolves a suit that was pending in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Last December, Brandywine sent a letter to HickoryTech that it infringed upon the '854, '328, '537, '657, '501, and '472 patents through the telco's DSL business.

Jennifer Spaude, Director of Investor Relations, Marketing and Public Relations for HickoryTech confirmed in an e-mail to FierceTelecom that "a settlement was reached between the two parties."

"Due to the confidentiality agreement, we are not able to share the terms of the agreement," she said. "Our next SEC 10-K filing will include a brief mention of the party withdrawing the claim; however due to the immaterial amount, no terms will be disclosed."

HickoryTech is just one of many telcos that have been accused of patent infringement.

Brandywine claims in a separate suit that AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink violated seven different DSL-related patents which Brandywine says it owns. Overall, Brandywine has sued over 39 different service providers, including Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), IKANO and Megapath.

A number of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 telcos have been embroiled in various patent suits. According to a report by Sara Jeruss, Robin Feldman and Joshua Walker, the number of lawsuits filed by patent holders has increased from 22 percent of the patent lawsuits filed in 2007 to more than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits filed today.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles;
AT&T, CenturyLink, Windstream face DSL patent suits
AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink embroiled in ADSL patent fight with Brandywine

Updated article on Jan. 3 with a statement from a HickoryTech spokeswoman.