Broadcom wins antitrust appeal against Qualcomm

A federal appeals court last week reversed a lower court's dismissal of antitrust claims brought against Qualcomm by rival semiconductor developer Broadcom, enabling the antitrust suit to move forward. The three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously held that Broadcom can pursue its claims for monopolization and attempted monopolization, writing that the case against Qualcomm presents "important questions regarding whether a patent holder's deceptive conduct before a private standards-determining organization may be condemned under the antitrust laws." The appeals court ordered that the case proceed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. It nevertheless upheld the lower court's ruling that two of Broadcom's original eight claims should be dismissed.

Broadcom filed the antitrust suit in July 2005, accusing Qualcomm of violating a commitment to WCDMA standard groups to license its technology on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms. The District Court granted Qualcomm's motion to dismiss the case in August 2006. Broadcom is seeking multiple remedies including the elimination of royalties on Qualcomm's patents, treble damages, attorneys' fees and "an end to Qualcomm's discriminatory and anticompetitive practices."

For more on the appeals court ruling:
- read this release