Qualcomm Sues TI

Suit alleges TI disclosed information about a patent agreement the two companies signed in December 2000.

Cell phone chip maker Qualcomm Corp. on Friday announced that it has sued competitor Texas Instruments Inc.

Filed on Friday in a Delaware state court, the suit alleges breach of a Patent Portfolio Agreement that the companies signed in December 2000, which gave the two companies access to each others patents. Qualcomm alleges that TI disclosed information about the agreement.

On May 15 2003, TI announced plans to sell chips based on the CDMA 1X2000 high-speed cell phone network standard through a joint collaboration with Nokia Corp. and STMicroelectronics NV. At the time, TI officials voiced the importance of open standards and competition in the cell phone market – an obvious jab at Qualcomm.

While TI bests Qualcomm in overall cell phone chip sales, Qualcomm owns the market and the majority of patents for CDMA technology, which is popular in Asia and North America. In the United States, Verizon Wireless Inc. and Sprint PCS Group run networks based on CDMA.

Qualcomms patents are necessary for TIs CDMA chip set production. The suit seeks termination of Texas Instruments rights under the patent sharing agreement.

TI officials publicly responded to the complaint on Monday, asserting that it is without merit.

"TI intends to establish this market as a level playing field in which open competition prevails and consumers benefit," said Joseph Hubach, senior vice president, secretary and general counsel for TI in Dallas.

"This is the case in every other wireless market in which TI competes. Qualcomms legal maneuvers will not distract us from pursuing the CDMA market."