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Court: Qualcomm abused standards-setting process

Posted: 04 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Broadcom Qualcomm case? patent infringement? intellectual property?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a decision by a federal judge in San Diego that Qualcomm violated its duty to disclose its patents to a standards body. As a result, the patents are unenforceable against products practicing the standard at issue.

In the ruling, the appeals court agreed with the district court "that Qualcomm intentionally organized a plan to shield its patents from consideration by the JVT [Joint Video Team], intending to later obtain royalties from H.264-compliant products."

The appeals court ruling is the latest chapter in a case that began in 2005 when Qualcomm sued Broadcom, alleging infringement of two patents related to the H.264 digital video compression standard, promulgated by the JVT. A jury unanimously found that Broadcom did not infringe the patents and also recommended that the judge find that Qualcomm misled the JVT by failing to disclose its patents.

U.S. District Court Judge Rudi Brewster agreed with the jury's recommendation, subsequently ruling that Qualcomm had engaged in standards abuse and attempted to cover it up through aggravated litigation misconduct: "In light of all of the evidence finally revealed, the eventual collapse of Qualcomm's concealment efforts exposes the carefully orchestrated plan and the deadly determination of Qualcomm to achieve its goal of holding hostage the entire industry desiring to practice the H.264 standard." Judge Brewster held that Qualcomm thereby waived its rights to enforce the patents, and ordered Qualcomm to pay all of Broadcom's reasonable attorneys' fees and costs reasonably incurred by Broadcom in defending the patent infringement case that led to the rulings.

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