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Qualcomm Hits Back

Qualcomm is returning fire in an escalating legal battle with Broadcom .

The San Diego company today said it filed a federal lawsuit against its Irvine, Calif., rival alleging infringement of seven patents: six relate to semiconductors used in GSM handsets, one concerns chips used in Wi-Fi devices.

Qualcomm, which recently celebrated its 20th year in business, is asking for a court order to stop Broadcom from making and selling the chips as well as monetary damages.

"Our complaint, based upon our initial review of Broadcom's business, discloses that a number of Broadcom's major product lines infringe Qualcomm's patents," said Louis M. Lupin, Qualcomm's general counsel, said in a statement.

Lupin said Qualcomm will continue to examine Broadcom's other businesses lines to see if they use technology covered by any of Qualcomm's 3,000 patents.

Today's suit comes one week after Broadcom sued Qualcomm, claiming that Qualcomm's licensing of third-generation mobile technology violates antitrust laws. And earlier this year, Broadcom sued Qualcomm for alleged patent infringement.

"Qualcomm's filing . . . is in response to the lawsuits that we filed against Qualcomm on May 18 alleging infringement of 10 Broadcom patents," Bill Blanning, a Broadcom spokesman, told internetnews.com. "It is very common for defendants in patent cases to respond with countersuits."

Blanning said Broadcom is confident it will prevail when the cases make their way to court. Broadcom also has a complaint pending with the International Trade Commission over Qualcomm's trade practices, Blanning said.