Qualcomm explains failure to provide evidence

In court filings, Qualcomm said that it did not intend to mislead the court during a patent infringement case against Broadcom earlier this year.

Court documents filed by Qualcomm this week describe a disjointed legal team with communication failures and internal engineers who were forgetful and ignorant of basic principles of technical standards-setting procedure.

The documents seek to defend Qualcomm's contention that it wasn't involved in a standards-setting process relevant to a patent infringement case it brought against Broadcom. Qualcomm lost the case earlier this year and shortly after the ruling the company revealed that it failed to disclose over 200,000 internal e-mails that show its participation in the standards-setting process. The US District Court for the Southern District of California has already ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom's legal fees because of the omission, but Qualcomm could also now face additional sanctions.

The filings from Qualcomm argue that those involved acted in good faith and ethically, without the intent to mislead the court.

One document includes transcripts from the trial detailing testimony from a Qualcomm engineer saying that she didn't know how she got onto an e-mail list for people involved in the standards-setting process and doesn't remember reading any of the messages. In a statement she filed this week, however, she says that she didn't understand the significance of the receipt of those e-mails and that she later realized that she had signed up to the e-mail distribution list herself. She also said that she misunderstood several questions put to her when she testified at the trial during which she downplayed Qualcomm's involvement in the group.

Qualcomm's participation in the standards process was relevant because after the standard was set, it filed the lawsuit against Broadcom charging patent infringement for Qualcomm patents used in the standard. However, companies that help to build standards agree to disclose any relevant patents they might have. The court found earlier this year that Qualcomm concealed patents that it believed might be essential to the standard.

One filing this week from Heller Ehrman, a law firm representing Qualcomm, explains that it continued to argue in court that Qualcomm had no involvement in the standards-setting process, even though another firm working on the case had discovered e-mails showing that the chip maker was indeed involved. Heller argues that the other firm, Day Casebeer, didn't share its discovery with Heller.

Other filings this week come from people unrelated to the case testifying to the ethics of lawyers involved in the case.

Broadcom has testified that it thinks sanctions should only be brought against Qualcomm, and not the individual lawyers involved in the case.

One of Qualcomm's lawyers who was involved in the case, Lou Lupin, quit in mid-August. At the time, Qualcomm praised his work.

A federal magistrate judge will hear arguments regarding potential additional repercussions on October 12.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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