Qualcomm escaped an outright ban on phones that incorporate its chips. An International Trade Commission administrative law judge ruled yesterday that Qualcomm's chips infringed on five claims of a Broadcom patent, but rejected claims that Qualcomm infringed on two other patents Broadcom cited. Broadcom has long held that the Qualcomm technology for 3G violates its patent holdings. The ITC as a whole could disagree with the judge's decision, but it's rare. The patent that the judge said Qualcomm infringed upon involves a feature for managing power in chips, and Qualcomm said it is exploring designs to replace the features accused of infringement. But this is just one of many in a series of patent lawsuits filed by both companies against the other. Industry watchers are expecting a deal soon. Just goes to show how high the stakes are for the 3G chip market, which Broadcom and a host of other chip vendors have been trying to crack. Qualcomm by far dominates this market right now.