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TI sues Qualcomm over handset deal

The legal tug-of-war between the two companies escalates, as Texas Instruments files a suit over a cross-licensing agreement.

Texas Instruments has sued Qualcomm, alleging that the rival chipmaker offered discounts to handset makers in violation of a cross-licensing agreement between the two companies.

TI filed the suit Tuesday under seal at a Delaware Chancery Court--in the same jurisdiction Qualcomm used to file a lawsuit against TI in July.

The legal tug-of-war is over a December 2000 patent licensing agreement between the two companies. That agreement let both companies use many of each other's cell phone patents in their products. The pact let each company "develop a semiconductor that infringed" patents and sell it without being sued, Qualcomm General Counsel Lou Lupin said in an interview in July.

A Qualcomm representative declined to comment Tuesday.

Earlier, Qualcomm accused TI of disclosing information publicly that was to be confidential under terms of the agreement. Neither Lupin nor the Newcastle County, Del., Superior Court lawsuit provided additional details about what TI allegedly disclosed.

TI fired back with its suit, saying it learned from customers that Qualcomm has been offering handset makers discounts on the fees they must pay to license the company's Code Division Multiple Access cell phone technology. That breaches the contract as well, according to a statement from TI.

The suit does not name which handset makers were offered discounts. Many of the world's major handset makers have licensed Qualcomm's cell phone technology.