Judge Denies Broadcom Request On Qualcomm Patents

Federal court has dismissed a request by Broadcom to declare some of rival Qualcomm's patents on wireless chips ‘exhausted and unenforceable.’

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A federal court has dismissed a request by Broadcom Corp. to declare some of Qualcomm Inc.'s patents on wireless chips "exhausted and unenforceable."

It was the latest ruling in a series of legal clashes between the chip companies over patents.

Judge William Q Hayes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego ruled last Thursday that Broadcom failed to identify the specific patents and called alleged injuries against the company "speculative."

Broadcom had sued Qualcomm in October alleging its rival was misusing its patents to suppress industry competition.

The company argued that it only needed to identify the types of products at issue -- in this case chips used in wireless communications and handsets -- to get a court order declaring the patents unenforceable.

Broadcom claimed the threat of patent litigation made customers reluctant to buy its chips.

Broadcom has also sought to protect its own technology rights in the past. In May 2007, a federal jury awarded the company $19.6 million in damages, finding Qualcomm had violated three of its chip patents.

Thursday's court decision was the second legal victory for Qualcomm this month. The same judge dismissed three consumer class-action suits against the company alleging antitrust violations. The chip maker had been accused of failing to license its technology on fair terms.

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