Broadcom-Qualcomm Litigation Cleared to Continue

An appeals panel rules that the district court erred in dismissing Broadcom's antitrust allegations against Qualcomm.

Reversing a lower court ruling, a U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 4 ordered an antitrust case brought by Broadcom against Qualcomm to proceed in a New Jersey district court. The case is one of several tangled legal battles between the rival wireless chip makers.

Broadcom originally filed the case in New Jersey on July 1, 2005, claiming Qualcomm violated U.S. antitrust laws by manipulating the standards-setting process and failing to license third-generation cellular technology in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner. The district court dismissed the case on Sept. 1, 2006, and Broadcom promptly appealed the decision.

The three-judge appeals court upheld two of Broadcoms antitrust claims, noting that the case presents "important questions regarding whether a patent holders deceptive conduct before a private standards-determining organization may be condemned under the antitrust laws."

In contrasting statements, Broadcom said it was "optimistic" about moving forward with the case, while Qualcomm claimed the appeals decision was based on a narrow legal technicality and that it would "vigorously" dispute Broadcoms allegations.

"We are pleased that we will get our day in court and will have the opportunity to show how Qualcomms conduct violates our nations antitrust laws," David A. Dull, general counsel for Broadcom, based in Irvine, Calif., said in a statement. "We have already seen a finding of standards abuse against Qualcomm in a patent case in San Diego federal court, and are optimistic that we will prevail in New Jersey as well."


Read more here about the legal battle between Broadcom and Qualcomm.

Among the remedies sought by Broadcom are the elimination of royalties on Qualcomms patents, treble damages, attorneys fees and an end to what Broadcom claims are Qualcomms discriminatory and anticompetitive practices.

"Broadcom did not appeal the dismissal by the district court of four of its claims; therefore, six of Broadcoms eight federal claims in this case have now been conclusively resolved in Qualcomms favor," San Diego-based Qualcomm said in a statement.

In a separate patent infringement lawsuit between the rivals, a San Diego jury ordered Qualcomm May 28 to pay $19.6 million for infringing on three Broadcom patents. Those patents cover 3G wireless video processing and push-to-talk technology for cellular phones. Qualcomm is appealing.

Qualcomm is also facing an International Trade Commission ban on the import of the companys future 3G mobile broadband handset models and cell phones following an ITC ruling on Dec. 12, 2006, that Qualcomms chips infringe on a Broadcom power-saving technology. Qualcomm is also appealing that decision.


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