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U.S. bars Qualcomm chip shipments

Posted: 11 Jun 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Broadcom Qualcomm suit  patent infringement  ITC chip ban 

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has partially banned shipments of mobile phones containing Qualcomm chips due to ongoing patent dispute between Qualcomm and rival Broadcom Corp . This order will have an impact on major wireless carriers.

Paul Jacobs, the embattled company's CEO, said Qualcomm plans to seek an emergency stay and a reversal of the agency's decision from a federal appeals court.

The ITC action stems from an ongoing patent dispute between Qualcomm and rival Broadcom Corp. In May, a federal court jury in California found that Qualcomm had infringed on three Broadcom patents, and awarded the latter company Rs.80.10 crore ($19.6 million).

The ITC order bars the importation of new handsets or PDAs that contain Qualcomm chips and chipsets that are used in connecting devices to 3G high-speed networks used to deliver data services, such as video, music and Web access.

The commission voted, 3-2, in favour of the ban, which followed the ITC's previous ruling that certain Qualcomm chips were imported into the United States in violation of federal laws protecting intellectual property. The ban does not apply to handsets and handheld computers that are of the same models as devices imported into the U.S. before the June 7 order.

The commission's order goes into effect in 60 days, unless President George W. Bush issues a veto. The ban is expected to affect advanced cell phones sold by Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA.

Qualcomm and Broadcom have been engaged in acrimonious legal exchanges for several months over patents for mobile phones. Broadcom claims it is protecting its financial investment in its IP, while Qualcomm has countered that Broadcom purchased the patents at issue in the case.

- Antone Gonsalves

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