Palm Inc., the No. 1 handheld computer maker, on Friday said it would appeal a court ruling in favor of Xerox Corp. in a case over a patent for handwriting recognition software.

``We assert that the Graffiti handwriting technology does not infringe the Xerox patent and that Palm has strong arguments to support its defense,'' Eric Benhamou, Palm's chairman and chief executive said in a statement.

Xerox said on Thursday that it had won a patent infringement suit against 3Com Corp. and Palm over the Graffiti product.

Xerox had sued U.S. Robotics, which was later acquired by 3Com, in April 1997, claiming that the handwriting recognition technology marketed as Graffiti and used on Palm handheld devices infringed a patent Xerox received in 1997.

Xerox said the technology was invented at its Palo Alto Research Center, known as PARC.

``Palm will defend itself vigorously and does not intend for this litigation to affect its business strategy or business model nor that of its licensees,'' the Palm statement said.