Mobiles get banned

The ITC has ordered that certain Qualcomm devices, and any future handsets that incorporate them, be barred from being imported into the US.


The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ordered that certain Qualcomm devices, and any future products such as 3G mobile broadband handsets that incorporate them, be barred from being imported into the US – because they infringe a Broadcom patent.


Last year, an ITC administrative law judge and later the Commission itself found that Qualcomm’s cellular baseband chips infringe five claims of US Patent No. 6,714,983, which relates generally to power conservation in cellular phones.


Broadcom, which originally filed its ITC complaint in May 2005, has also pursued patent infringement claims against Qualcomm in US District Court in Santa Ana, California, where on May 29 a federal jury found Qualcomm liable for willfully infringing nine claims of three different Broadcom patents. The jury awarded Broadcom $19.64m in damages, which may be trebled by the judge due to the finding of willful infringement. Broadcom also plans to seek an injunction to bar future infringement by Qualcomm.


Qualcomm isn’t happy with the decision. The company is to ask the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to stay enforcement of the ITC’s order and ask the President to veto the ITC’s decision.


Qualcomm maintains that Broadcom’s patent is invalid and not infringed.


‘We believe the Commission has not afforded manufacturers and operators, who will bear the brunt of this order, an adequate opportunity to defend their interests. In declining to ban existing products, the Commission recognised the adverse impact of a downstream remedy to the public interest, but decided on a measure that will limit consumer choice and access to mobile broadband services, be harmful to operators, manufacturers and the economy, and pose risks to public safety communications. The Commission’s own chairman declared that the order would adversely affect the public interest,’ said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm.