MANHASSET, N.Y. Broadcom's announcement Thursday (May 19) that it would file multiple lawsuits against Qualcomm Corp. for alleged patent infringement have brought both companies back into the familiar arena of court patent battles.
Broadcom (Irvine, Calif.) is accusing Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) of violating numerous patents related to wireless and wired communications chips, and is seeking a court injunction to bar Qualcomm from selling baseband and RF chips.
While it is too early to tell how the upcoming dispute will play out, one could reasonably expect a lengthy—and probably costly—court battle for both sides.
Broadcom, a fabless communications chip company, has become a particularly familiar face in the courts in recent years.
The company tangled with Intel from 2000 until August 2003, with Broadcom finally agreeing to pay Intel $60 million in cash, and cross-license patents related to networking chips.
In June 2004, Broadcom also settled a long-standing patent dispute with Microtune regarding silicon tuners. The companies agreed to cross-license tuner products with Broadcom forking over $22.5 million to Microtune.
In October 2004, Broadcom settled patent disputes with Agere Corp. relating to high speed communications, wireless, disk drive and other technologies. Broadcom assumed $28 million in legal costs.
Qualcomm has also done battle in the courts. After suing Texas Instruments in July 2003 over alleged breachment of a CDMA patent license, the companies traded several suits and countersuits for over a year.
In October 2004, a Delaware court ruled to keep the cross-licensing pact between the two companies intact, which appears to have ended the dispute despite Qualcomm reportedly saying at the time it would appeal the ruling.