MANHASSET, N.Y. Communications semiconductor maker Broadcom Corp. has filed an antitrust suit against wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc., further escalating the simmering legal dispute between the two communications giants.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Broadcom (Irvine, Calif.) asserts that the violations relate to San Diego-based Qualcomm's alleged abuse of the wireless technology standards-setting process, failure to meet its commitments to license technology for cellular wireless standards on fair and nondiscriminatory terms, and various anticompetitive practices of Qualcomm in the markets for cellphone technology and chip sets.
"Our goal is simply to ensure fair competition and a level playing field, not just for Broadcom, but for the entire cellular industry," Scott McGregor, Broadcom's president and chief executive, said in a statement. "Qualcomm's practices prevent that. Their monopoly in CDMA technology has increased the price of cellphones in the U.S., and we are hoping that the courts will prevent the same thing from happening with the next generation '3G' cellphones."p>
Broadcom's compliant alleged Qualcomm's licensing arrangements failed to provide fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing terms to users of technology incorporated into telecommunications industry standards. Broadcom asserted that Qualcomm's licensing abuses included charging discriminatory royalties, collecting double royalties and demanding overly broad cross-license rights from its licensees, among other things.
Broadcom also alleged that Qualcomm engaged in various exclusionary and anticompetitive practices in supplying cellphone technology and chip sets, thus placing competitors like Broadcom at a distinct disadvantage and reinforcing Qualcomm's dominant position in violation of U.S. antitrust laws.
On May 19
, Broadcom sued Qualcomm in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeking unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction barring the manufacture and sale of Qualcomm's core suite of baseband and RF chips. Broadcom alleged in the California suit that Qualcomm infringed ten Broadcom patents related to wired and wireless communications and multimedia processing technologies.
The dispute took on another dimension last month when the U.S International Trade Commission
opened an investigation into whether Qualcomm engaged in unfair trade practices by importing ICs and other products that allegedly infringe five Broadcom patents.