Broadcom Suits Up

Wireless chipmaker Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) has launched a two-pronged legal assault on Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), claiming the CDMA pioneer is infringing on 10 patents with its current and forthcoming cellphone technology.

Broadcom has filed two complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeking unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction barring the manufacture and sale of Qualcomm's core suite of baseband and RF integrated circuits.

Broadcom has filed separately a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging Qualcomm has engaged in unfair trade practices by importing integrated circuits and other products that infringe five Broadcom patents. Broadcom wants an exclusion order to bar imports of those Qualcomm devices into the U.S and to stop further sales of those products already in the country.

"We felt that Qualcomm was not valuing our IP [intellectual property] to a level that our IP was worth," David Rosmann, Broadcom's VP of IP litigation tells Unstrung.

Some of the technologies in question include Qualcomm's QChat wireless VOIP product, integration of Bluetooth "in the cellphone environment," and digital video, Rosmann says.

"Digital video is one of our legacy technologies, going back to the set-top box days," he says.

Qualcomm hasn't addressed Broadcom's allegations yet. "We've not received the suit yet, so we can't comment," a company spokesman told Unstrung this afternoon.

Rosmann expects the ITC case to be heard in January or February next year, while the district case would start late in 2006.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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