Qualcomm says Broadcom antitrust suit is 'meritless'

Qualcomm Inc. Wednesday described the recent antitrust suit filed against it by communications chip vendor Broadcom Corp. as "meritless," and suggested that it may fight back with further litigation of its own.

"This case, like the earlier patent cases filed by Broadcom against Qualcomm appears to be a desperate attempt by Broadcom to gain bargaining leverage through meritless litigation," Louis M. Lupin, senior vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a press release. "Broadcom's unfortunate preference for the litigation forum rather than the negotiating table will require Qualcomm to proceed with litigation of its own."

Broadcom filed suit against Qualcomm on Friday, alleging the cell-phone chip maker had engaged in unfair licensing practices for its CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology, resulting in higher priced cell phones in the U.S. Broadcom said it was filing the suit to prevent the same situation occurring in the developing 3G (third-generation) cell-phone market.

Qualcomm countered in a release that its licensing practices are "lawful, fair, reasonable and pro-competitive," pointing to the more than 130 licenses for its technologies it has issued to companies around the world. The company also asserted that Broadcom's allegations that Qualcomm has supposedly monopolized the WCDMA (Wideband CDMA) protocol used in 3G phones is "demonstrably false." Qualcomm characterized the WCDMA chipset market as enjoying "intense and healthy" competition and claimed it had only supplied a small percentage of the chipsets sold to date.

Qualcomm and Broadcom are already locked in another legal battle. In May, Broadcom sued Qualcomm for alleged patent infringement and filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an attempt to ban the import of foreign-manufactured Qualcomm products, which Broadcom alleged infringed its patents. Qualcomm reiterated Wednesday that it believes Broadcom's patent infringement claims are "without merit."

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