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Not satisfied with a mere patent lawsuit against its rival, Broadcom has thumped Qualcomm with a round of antitrust charges.

The networking chip maker today announced the antitrust suit against Qualcomm, claiming its rival used unfair licensing practices in the cellular communications market. In the complaint, filed in the US District Court for New Jersey, Broadcom requests payment for damages and a permanent injunction banning Qualcomm's allegedly unfair tactics. This lawsuit follows one filed by Broadcom in May, accusing Qualcomm of patent infringement.

"Our goal is simply to ensure fair competition and a level playing field, not just for Broadcom, but for the entire cellular industry," said Scott McGregor, CEO at Broadcom. "Qualcomm's practices prevent that. Their monopoly in CDMA technology has increased the price of cell phones in the U.S., and we are hoping that the courts will prevent the same thing from happening with the next generation '3G' cell phones. Qualcomm's monopolistic activities limit competition, stifle innovation, and ultimately harm consumers and service providers."

Qualcomm did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but a company spokesman was quoted elsewhere saying Broadcom's suit was without merit.

In particular, Broadcom alleges that Qualcomm uses its patents around CDMA technology to block rivals unfairly. Qualcomm will give customers who buy its W-CDMA chips instead of rivals' products a better deal on the technology IP licensing, according to Broadcom.

The antitrust lawsuit does not overlap with Broadcom's patent lawsuit, in which the vendor accused Qualcomm of violating its IP for delivering multimedia content to cell phones. ®

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