Chip damage

A US federal judge has let stand a jury verdict that found that communications chip company Qualcomm infringed three of rival Broadcom‘s patents.

Broadcom will now seek to prevent Qualcomm from making, using, selling and developing third generation (3G) WCDMA and EV-DO cellular chips that infringe any of the patents.

Earlier this year, a unanimous federal jury in Santa Ana, California found that Qualcomm infringed three Broadcom cellular phone baseband patents, and that the infringement had been willful, allowing the judge to double the damage award to Broadcom for past infringement from $19.6m to $39.3m.

Later, US District Court Judge James V. Selna decided to reconsider his decision on double damages and attorneys’ fees as a result of a subsequent change in the US federal law regarding willfulness announced in an unrelated case involving Seagate Technologies. In the wake of the Seagate decision, Qualcomm asked for a new trial on whether its products did indeed infringe Broadcom’s patents.

On November 21, Judge Selna issued his final ruling in the matter, overturning his earlier award of double damages and attorneys’ fees in light of Seagate, but allowing the jury’s underlying infringement verdict against Qualcomm to stand.

He gave Broadcom the option either to accept his final decision on enhanced damages and thereby avoid a new trial, or to seek a new trial in which the issue of willfulness would be tried again, along with Broadcom’s infringement claims.

Broadcom plans to inform the judge that it will not seek a new trial, but instead will accept the $19.6m in damages as originally awarded by the jury. I also plans to pursue an injunction against Qualcomm’s infringing products.