Qualcomm can't hold off injunction in Broadcom suit

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

In the latest of many legal
setbacks for Qualcomm
, a federal court has turned down the company's request
to postpone an injunction against sales of some of its mobile-phone chips.

The injunction
was ordered late last year
after a lower court found that Qualcomm
violated three Broadcom
patents. Qualcomm is appealing the case and requested a stay of the injunction
while it goes through that process. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Federal Circuit, in Washington, D.C., rejected that request. As a result,
the injunction is in immediate effect, according to Broadcom, although Qualcomm
is allowed to keep selling certain infringing products until Jan. 31, 2009.

Cellular pioneer Qualcomm, based in San Diego, is embroiled in a series of
legal disputes with Broadcom, a relative newcomer to the mobile processor market
based in nearby Irvine, California. In this case, Broadcom sued Qualcomm in
May 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and
won the case last May, when a jury awarded it US$19.6 million in damages. The
district court judge entered the injunction on Dec. 31.

"We are gratified that the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected Qualcomm's motion
for a stay, leaving in force the injunction against Qualcomm's infringement
issued by the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana," Broadcom said in a statement
attributed to David Dull, senior vice president of business affairs and general
counsel.

"Although our motion for a stay was denied, the Federal Circuit has recognized
the need for speedy resolution of the many issues raised by the verdict and
remedy in this case, and has therefore granted Qualcomm’s motion for an
expedited schedule for briefings and oral argument," Qualcomm said in a
statement.

According to Broadcom, the three patents cover technology for improved video
performance in mobile phones, for accessing more than one network at a time
and for "push-to-talk" capability. The push-to-talk technology is
used in Qualcomm's QChat, a system Sprint Nextel is counting on to extend the
walkie-talkie capability popularized on Nextel's legacy iDEN network to its
larger CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) service.

Sprint had moved to intervene on Qualcomm's side in the district court but
was turned down last August. On Tuesday, the appeals court rejected Sprint's
appeal of that decision. The carrier filed its appeal too late, the appeals
court said.

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