Broadcom wins latest patent battle over GPS technology

A judge has ruled against SiRF Technology's request to re-examine an earlier ruling that Broadcom has not infringed against the company's patents.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

Chipmaker Broadcom has won the latest battle in a patent dispute with SiRF Technology Holdings, a developer of location-based technologies.

On Friday, Broadcom announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission, or ITC, has denied SiRF's request to review an Initial Determination that found no violation by Broadcom's subsidiary Global Locate of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

The legal battle between SiRF and Global Locate began before Broadcom bought Global Locate in July 2007. SiRF initially took Global Locate to federal court over patent infringement and then Broadcom counter-sued. Those suits were stayed pending the ITC ruling.

In June an ITC administrative law judge ruled that two of SiRF's GPS patents were not infringed by Global Locate, giving Broadcom its first major victory in the case.

Broadcom's claims against SiRF are also before the ITC. The chipmaker has filed six claims of patent infringement. An initial determination in the case, which went to trial in April 2008, was issued last week. The ITC judge ruled that SiRF infringed on six of Broadcom's patents, which improve GPS processing and sensitivity. The ITC still must make a final determination on the matter, which is expected by December.

The GPS market is getting hot as more mobile devices, such as cell phones, use it to provide location-based services. Buddy-tracking technologies and services have been launched. Apple's new iPhone 3G is the most high-profile example of a phone with embedded GPS, but other cell phones that are used on CDMA networks such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel have been required to have embedded GPS chips for E911 service for the past few years.

Some camera manufacturers are also starting to embed GPS chips to allow people to geotag photos on the go.