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Broadcom verdict broadsides Qualcomm

$19.6m patent slap

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Broadcom won $19.6m today from Qualcomm, after a jury found the chip design rival guilty of infringing three patents for cell phone technology.

If the judge upholds the verdict, federal law allows Qualcomm to be charged up to three times as much — that's $58.8m — for willfully stepping on the IP's toes. Broadcom also seeks a permanent injunction to bar Qualcomm from further infringing its wireless technology patents. US District Judge James Selna has set a June 18 hearing date to schedule post-trial motions.

Broadcom is also seeking to shut down sales of wireless handsets with Qualcomm chips through the US International Trade Commission. The ITC will announce a ruling on June 7.

Today's verdict was delivered by a nine-person jury after 13 days of trial and two days of deliberation. Qualcomm intends to file post-trial motions to overturn the ruling.

"We continue to believe that none of the Broadcom patent claims are valid or were infringed by Qualcomm, and we will challenge the jury’s findings of infringement, validity and willfulness in post-trial motions and on appeal if necessary,” QualComm VP and general counsel Lou Lupin said in a statement.

Broadcom filed the lawsuit in May 2005, at first alleging five patents had been infringed. Broadcom later dismissed one of these from the compalint. The three patents to hit the mark: one regarding walkie-talkie functionality in mobile phones, another about wireless video processing and the third relates to how calls are handed over to different phone networks.

In a statement, Broadcom said today's jury findings confirm that Qualcomm's infringement of its patents are "widespread and pervasive".

The two companies have butted heads many times. In January, San Diego federal court ruled in favor of Broadcom when Qualcomm sued for IP infringement regarding video compression technology.

Last year, Broadcom, Nokia, Texas Instruments, NEC, Panasonic and Ericsson filed complaints with the European Commission, accusing Qualcomm of violating competition law through its licensing practices ®

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