Judge Denies Qualcomm's Request For Stay - InformationWeek

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Judge Denies Qualcomm's Request For Stay

An ITC administrative law judge last year ruled that Qualcomm's cellular baseband chips infringe Broadcom's patents, related to power conservation in cell phones.

Broadcom, a chip manufacturer for wired and wireless communications, said on Friday that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has denied a request by Qualcomm for an emergency stay of the commission's ban on the import of some cell phones that use Qualcomm's chips.

An ITC administrative law judge last year ruled that Qualcomm's cellular baseband chips infringe Broadcom's patents, related to power conservation in cell phones. In May, a federal court jury in California awarded Broadcom damages of $19.6 million against Qualcomm for the infringed patents. Then earlier this month, the ITC ordered that certain Qualcomm chips, as well as future products like cell phones containing the chips that infringe Broadcom's patents, be barred from importation into the United States.

The ITC keeps out foreign-made goods the sale of which would be unfair to companies that have a domestic business in the U.S. It's an unfair practice to sell goods that infringe patens, explained Bruce Sunstein, an attorney at Bromberg & Sunstein LLP, in an interview.

"Qualcomm, which collects about $3 billion a year from licensing its own patent portfolio and itself uses the ITC as a forum against competitors, refuses to provide appropriate compensation for the use of [intellectual property]," said David Dull, Broadcom's senior VP and general counsel, in a statement. Broadcom claims that it had repeatedly asked Qualcomm to negotiate a resolution, but its efforts have been unsuccessful.

The Qualcomm chips and chipsets are used in connecting cell phones and other mobile devices to third-generation (3G) cellular networks for high-speed data access. Broadcom also makes 3G chips. "This is a fight over 3G royalties," said Sunstein. The ban affects phones sold by the major U.S. cellular carriers, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile.

The fight is not over yet. Qualcomm still has a shot with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which can reverse a lower court's ruling. But a settlement could come once Qualcomm and Broadcom reach a deal using terms that work for both. Sunstein said, "This is one event in a long-term struggle between these two companies."

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