Appeals court adds another layer to Qualcomm-Broadcom dispute

A federal appeals court has added another layer to the never-ending dispute between Qualcomm and Broadcom over digital video patents by agreeing that Qualcomm was wrong but that the punishment doled out by a lower court was too harsh. The appeals court sent the whole thing back to that lower court for another go.

The case started in 2005 when Qualcomm said chip competitor Broadcom infringed on two of its digital video patents. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California concluded that Qualcomm had not revealed it owned those patents when it became a member of the group that created the h.264 digital video standard which incorporated the patented technologies and that the patents were unenforceable in all contexts.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit now has agreed that Qualcomm's behavior was wrong, but that the patents should be unenforceable only when associated with h.264 products. It also sent the case back to the lower court.

David Rosmann, Broadcom's vice president of intellectual property litigation (and isn't that an ominous title?) promised that this thing is far from settled. In a Broadcom news release, Rosmann suggested "Qualcomm has violated the rules of the cellular standards bodies as well" and Broadcom is "determined to bring (this) to light in our other pending cases."

For more:
- see this article
- see this news release

Related stories:
Broadcom gets the latest victory in patent fight with Qualcomm
Broadcom wins round over Qualcomm in patent litigation

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