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Broadcom sues seven over 'stolen' chip secrets

Alleges start-up engaged in industrial espionage

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Wireless chip maker Broadcom has accused start-up MagiComm Technology Inc. of engaging in "a well-orchestrated, international scheme to steal from Broadcom trade secrets" - allegations MagiComm's legal representative described as "fallacious and inflammatory".

Broadcom has launched legal action against three current and four former employees it claims attempted to pilfer Broadcom technology to fuel MagiComm's product development efforts, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuits, filed on 3 November in the US District Court for Santa Ana, claims one Leo Li, until 5 October this year a senior director within Broadcom's Mobile Communications Division, and three other ex-Broadcom staffers not only took mobile phone chip technology secrets with them when they quit in order to run MagiComm, but also attempted to use those secrets to take business away from their former employer.

As evidence, Broadcom claims to possess a number of emails sent from MagiComm to a Broadcom employee. The emails, it says, attempt to persuade the employee to send its chip designs to the start-up.

However, Li's lawyer, Brad Blocker, told AP that Broadcom had got it wrong. MagiComm is not in the business to competing with Broadcom, he said, but to design mobile phone handsets based on Broadcom's technology.

All seven individuals cited in Broadcom's lawsuit joined the company in 2002 when it acquired Mobilink Telecom for $258m. Mobilink was bought to kick-start Broadcom's own entry into the mobile phone chip market. ®

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