Following initial contact by telecom chip supplier CML Microcircuits in Hong Kong, a number of mainland Chinese technology firms have approached local start-up 3amSystems to adopt its LineScope diagnostic tool. These companies are H3C, Kinstar and SEUIC. Now wholly owned by HP, H3C started out as a joint venture between networking equipment pioneers Huawei and 3Com, while Kinstar and SEUIC are manufacturers that, among other things, make card payment terminals.

3amSystems is an innovative technology start-up based in Malta. Founded by local and US industry veterans, the company provides niche product development services, with core expertise in telecoms, embedded systems and technical software development. Its LineScope product is today an industry standard tool in the payment terminal sector.

Originally conceived as an experimental undergraduate project related to obsolete modems, the innovative take on diagnostic features, coupled with the fact that supposedly obsolete modems are still around and causing headaches on both legacy and emerging infrastructures, all pointed to an untapped opportunity. Founder Brian Cauchi was eventually awarded a WIPO Gold Medal for Best Inventor for his work, the first-ever to be awarded to a Maltese national in the category.

Rather unusually for a ‘made in Malta’ product, LineScope was also employed in a patent litigation case in the US to disprove infringement allegations. Ten companies, including names such as Canon and HP, were sued for allegedly infringing patents related to dial-up modem technology. Expert witness for DirecTV, one of the defendants, used LineScope to assert non-infringement defences. Acting on compelling evidence, the judge threw the case out, ending the case that had been filed just eight months earlier. Kirkland and Ellis were defence counsel.

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