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Broadcom broadsides Qualcomm with wireless chip IP lawsuit

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Broadcom has slapped Qualcomm with a lawsuit, alleging that its rival infringed on 10 patents tied to processing wired and wireless communications.

There were two complaints filed Wednesday by Broadcom in the US District Court for the Central District of California and another complaint filed today with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). Broadcom is seeking compensation for the alleged patent violations and an injunction against Qualcomm's production and sale of the products in question - in this case "baseband and RF (radio frequency) integrated circuits." A Qualcomm spokesman said the company has yet to receive the lawsuit and declined to comment at this time.

"We believe that Qualcomm's current and next generation cellular baseband and radio frequency (RF) product lines infringe a number of our patents," said Broadcom's CEO Scott McGregor.

Broadcom's main concern revolves around its technology for adding multimedia features to future cellphones. The company has chips that help deliver TV, MP3, VoIP, push-to-talk and PVR (personal video recording) functions to these phones.

"The communications industry is in the early stages of converging GSM and CDMA networks into a unified 3G network, which has the potential to enable more efficient voice and new high bandwidth data services that will drive a new generation of portable devices," McGregor said "Over more than a decade, Broadcom has assembled a portfolio of communications and related technologies unmatched in its breadth and depth, presenting us with compelling opportunities as we help drive the convergence of various technologies and features into next generation smart cell phones."

In the complaint filed with the ITC, Broadcom alleges that "Qualcomm has engaged in unfair trade practices by importing integrated circuits and other products that infringe five Broadcom patents." The ITC has been asked to investigate Qualcomm on these charges.

The investigation should begin in late June with the California trial starting in early 2006, according to Broadcom. ®

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