Judge says Qualcomm withheld info from standards body

28 Mar 2007

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) A US federal judge ruled Qualcomm withheld key information from a standards-setting body, potentially waiving rights to enforce two patents on video-compression technology.

The ruling is a victory for rival Broadcom in a wide-ranging legal battle between the two wireless technology companies. It came amid a two-day public hearing before the US International Trade Commission in Washington on another one of their patent disputes.

Qualcomm sued Broadcom in 2005 for violating patents on a video-compression standard known as H.264, which is used in DVD players, digital televisions and iPods.

US District Judge Rudi Brewster agreed with the advisory ruling, saying evidence showed Qualcomm waived rights to enforce the patents 'by its silence in the face of a 'clear duty to speak.'' He scheduled a May 2 hearing to consider a penalty.

In a partial victory for Qualcomm, Brewster rejected Broadcom's claim that Qualcomm misled the US Patent and Trademark Office by withholding relevant scientific articles.

Qualcomm, which makes communications chips and licenses its technology, said it was 'very troubled' by the ruling but would decide its next move after the May hearing.

'We respectfully disagree with the court's reasoning that strict compliance with a standards body's written (intellectual property rights) policy is not enough,' said Lou Lupin, Qualcomm's general counsel.

The San Diego-based company also said it would probably appeal January's jury ruling that Broadcom did not violate the patents. Broadcom welcomed the decision.

© 2007 The Associated Press

© 2007 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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