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Qualcomm infringes Broadcom patent, rules ITC judge

Posted: 17 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Broadcom? Qualcomm? patent infringement? Bluetooth?

A U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) judge issued an initial determination that Qualcomm Inc. infringes five claims of a Broadcom patent, according to Broadcom's announcement. Early this month, a federal judge dismissed Qualcom's bid for injunction of Broadcom 3G chips.

Broadcom asserted infringement of three of its patents by Qualcomm. ITC judge Charles E. Bullock found all three patents to be valid and one, U.S. Patent No. 6,714,983, to be infringed. The infringing products include cellular baseband processor chips that comprise Qualcomm's core suite of enhanced multimedia and convergence handset platforms.

The commission is expected to issue a permanent exclusion order barring the importation into the U.S. of infringing Qualcomm chips, as well as a cease and desist order barring further sales of infringing products already imported by Qualcomm, according to Broadcom's announcement.

Refuting this claim, Qualcomm said ITC Administrative Law Judge Charles Bullock recommended that no downstream remedies be implemented against the wireless handsets of third parties that incorporate Qualcomm chips and software. The company said it is exploring designs to replace the allegedly infringing technology.

"We believe Qualcomm infringes at least 15 additional Broadcom patents across its entire product line, and we expect to take those cases to trial over the next 12 months. Today's ruling validates our decision to challenge Qualcomm's illegal conduct, and will invigorate us to aggressively enforce our rights going forward," said David A. Dull, senior VP and general counsel of Broadcom.

Patent fight
By ITC procedures, the judge's initial determination will be forwarded to the full Commission. The Commission, comprised of six members, is scheduled to make its final determination Feb. 9, 2007, according to Broadcom.

Qualcomm said it would ask the full ITC to reject Bullock's initial determination of infringement.

"Qualcomm is gratified with [Bullock's] determination that our company has not infringed two of the three Broadcom patents," said Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm CEO. "This is a positive step for the wireless industry and millions of consumers whose access to wireless broadband services is threatened by Broadcom's unfounded request for [downstream remedy]," Jacobs added. "Qualcomm will continue to work with the industry to ensure that the Commission reaches the same conclusion on downstream remedy."

Meanwhile, Broadcom will seek Commission review of the judge's infringement determinations on the other two patents and his recommendation that the bar on importation not extend to cellular handsets that contain infringing Qualcomm chips.

Broadcom is also appealing last month's dismissal of its federal antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm. The dismissal by a U.S. District Judge in New Jersey was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Sept. 29.

The ITC action was the first of several patent disputes between the companies to go to trial. In March 2007, the U.S. District Court in San Diego, California is scheduled to try Broadcom's claims that Qualcomm infringes two patents relating to Bluetooth technology. Then in May 2007, the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California is scheduled to try Broadcom's claims that Qualcomm infringes five additional patents relating to cellular technology.

Furthermore, Qualcomm and Broadcom have other, later-filed patent disputes pending in the U.S. District Court in San Diego that are expected to be tried next year. Following the conclusion of the ITC proceeding, Broadcom will also litigate the three ITC patents in the Santa Ana court.

Broadcom and Qualcomm have been engaged in multiple patent fights on several fronts, including a lawsuit filed by Broadcom and Texas Instruments Inc. filed at the Korean Fair Trade Commission against Qualcomm in South Korea. Broadcom was one of six companies to lodge complaints with the European Commission last year alleging that Qualcomm was unfairly withholding intellectual property.

To date, Broadcom has alleged that Qualcomm's baseband, RF and power management products infringe 18 different Broadcom patents.

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