Judge: Qualcomm violates Broadcom ruling

Qualcomm has violated a court-ordered ban on the use of patented wireless tech owned by Broadcom, a federal judge rules.

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

The legal drama between wireless chipmakers Qualcomm and Broadcom continues this week.

On Thursday, the companies said a federal judge has ruled that Qualcomm is in contempt of an injunction that bans the use of patented wireless technology owned by Broadcom.

U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled that Qualcomm violated an injunction issued last year that banned Qualcomm from using technology in its chips that violates Broadcom's patents on wireless technology. The judge also ruled that Qualcomm has not been paying royalties to Broadcom for the use of its technology in Qualcomm-based cell phones with QChat walkie-talkie feature.

Qualcomm said in a statement that it will appeal the decision. It didn't disclose how much the damages will mount to.

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

Qualcomm has since developed technology that circumvents the disputed patents. This means that newer QChat phones aren't affected.

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.