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In patent case, court sides with Broadcom again

A federal appeals court has affirmed that Qualcomm is infringing on two out of three Broadcom patents, and has upheld an injunction against Qualcomm.

Chipmaker Broadcom has won the latest battle in a long patent war with Qualcomm.

On Wednesday a federal appeals court affirmed that Qualcomm is infringing on two cell phone patents. It also upheld an injunction against Qualcomm selling products with technology that infringes the two patents.

But it wasn't a total loss for Qualcomm. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Qualcomm was not infringing on one of the three patents in question. This patent relates to video compression technology.

That said, the court affirmed the judgment of infringement on two other patents. One patent has to do with walkie-talkie technology and the other one involves cell phones that switch between multiple wireless networks.

The permanent injunction contains a sunset provision that allows Qualcomm to sell its products and pay royalties to Broadcom through January 2009. But Qualcomm has developed technology that circumvents the disputed patents, which means newer QChat phones, which use the walkie-talkie technology, aren't affected.

In August a federal judge ruled that Qualcomm was in contempt of an injunction that bans the use of patented wireless technology owned by Broadcom. Qualcomm appealed the decision.

In May 2007, a jury found that Qualcomm had violated patents held by Broadcom that help cell phones process video and walkie-talkie conversations. And the judge in the case ordered Qualcomm to stop using the technology and to pay Broadcom royalties on existing infringing QChat products.

Qualcomm and Broadcom have been battling each other in court since 2005. In the past couple of years, the smaller Broadcom has aggressively defended its patents and won several victories. Last year, it won a major victory when the U.S. International Trade Commission ordered a ban on the import of all new models of 3G wireless handsets with Qualcomm chipsets that infringe Broadcom patents.