Appeals court affirms Qualcomm infringed patents

An appeals court upheld an injunction preventing Qualcomm from selling certain products that infringe Broadcom patents.

An appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Qualcomm did indeed infringe two Broadcom patents, and upheld an earlier injunction on products that use the patents.

A third Broadcom patent, related to video processing technology, was ruled invalid by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Qualcomm had used one of the upheld patents in its EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) products and the other in certain versions of its QChat push-to-talk technology.

Broadcom called the ruling a major victory.

In a statement, Qualcomm said it was pleased that the one patent was found to be invalid because now its WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) products are no longer an issue. It said it was disappointed with the infringement ruling on the other two patents and that it will continue moving forward with its workaround designs.

The ruling follows a district court decision in August that found Qualcomm in contempt of an injunction that ordered the company to stop selling products that used the patents. The court ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom revenue it earned from support and service for the affected products. At the time, Qualcomm argued its violation was a matter of interpreting the injunction.

Wednesday's ruling is only the latest in a long-running patent infringement battle between the companies. Qualcomm has lost several cases against Broadcom and has now twice been accused of trying to skirt the law. In addition to the contempt ruling, earlier this year a judge asked the State Bar of California to investigate Qualcomm lawyers for a possible ethics violation after the judge found that Qualcomm had intentionally withheld tens of thousands of important documents in a separate case involving Broadcom.

Qualcomm lost another high-profile case with Broadcom last year when the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Qualcomm could no longer import into the U.S. certain chips that infringed Broadcom patents.

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Nancy Gohring

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