Broadcom Wins Latest Infringement Round With Qualcomm

A California jury today ordered Qualcomm to pay $19.6 million for infringing on three patents owned by Broadcom. The jury also decided Qualcomm’s infringement was intentional, which could potentially treble the damages.

After the Tuesday afternoon verdict in Santa Ana, Calif., Broadcom  announced it would ask the court for a permanent injunction barring Qualcomm  from future infringement of the patents.

The patents involved cover third generation (3G) wireless video processing and push-to-talk technology for cellular phones. A June 18 hearing was set for deciding injunctive relief and other post-trial motions.

“We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict, and gratified that the jurors were able to absorb and evaluate very technical material and arrive at the conclusion that Qualcomm once again is improperly utilizing our patented technology covering cellular baseband solutions,” David A. Dull, Broadcom’s senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

Qualcomm said it was prepared to appeal the decision.

“We continue to believe that none of the Broadcom patent claims are valid or were infringed by Qualcomm, and we will challenge the jury’s findings of infringement, validity and willfulness in post-trial motions and on appeal if necessary,” Lou Lupin, the company’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

Broadcom filed the lawsuit two years ago, originally claiming Qualcomm infringed on five of its patents. During the course of the trial, two of the patents at issue were dropped from the case.

The Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom said Tuesday’s verdict was further proof of Qualcomm’s “widespread and pervasive” infringement of Broadcom’s patent portfolio.

“Broadcom’s patents are our company’s lifeblood, representing substantial financial investment…We are heartened that the legal system has provided redress for Qualcomm’s infringing behavior,” Dull said.

The decision is the latest round in a complex series of legal actions between Broadcom and the San Diego-based Qualcomm.

In December 2006, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) found that Qualcomm’s cellular chips infringe a Broadcom patent related to power-saving technology. A decision on the appropriate remedy for that infringement is expected by June 7.

Earlier this year, a San Diego jury rejected Qualcomm’s claims that Broadcom infringed on two Qualcomm patents involving video compression. In another lawsuit between the two companies, Broadcom claims Qualcomm has engaged in a “pattern of misconduct” across multiple technologies and through various standards bodies.

According to Broadcom, Qualcomm covertly dominated the 802.20 working group committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) by hiring working group members who didn’t disclose their affiliations with Qualcomm, in the hopes of winning votes that favored its technology at the expense of others.

In yet another legal action, Broadcom has joined five other wireless companies in filing a complaint against Qualcomm with the European Commission. The companies claim Qualcomm is violating European competition law by failing to meet the commitments it made to international standards bodies to license its technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

Broadcom has made the same complaint with the Korean Fair Trade Commission.

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