One patent lawsuit deserves another.
Just a week after
antitrust violations, Qualcomm has upheld the technology industry tradition of suing right back.
The San Diego wireless shop alleged in a countersuit Monday that Broadcom has violated seven of its patents.
The news comes as wireless technology leaders vigorously stake claims to the industry's booming growth markets. Recent weeks have brought news of vigorous patent disputes between
Research in Motion
and NTP, among others.
The escalating legal battles underscore the prospects of surging demand for new services and devices as the cell phone grows into a bigger role as a networking device.
Phone companies are looking to move beyond today's wireless standards to more advanced network technology known as the third and fourth generations, or 3G and 4G. To meet the demand for new gear, Qualcomm has been racing to develop new chips for mobile video and two-way radio called QChat. Meanwhile, outfits like Broadcom have been developing their own multimedia chips to support new generations of wireless devices.
Qualcomm says it filed a patent infringement suit in San Diego's federal district court Monday, charging that Broadcom's chip technology unlawfully borrows from Qualcomm's wireless standard. The dispute centers on Broadcom's work in advanced wireless data technology in the global systems for mobile, or GSM, standard.
Qualcomm is seeking an injunction and fines against Broadcom.
Last week, Broadcom stepped up the legal pressure against Qualcomm, accusing it of monopolistic activities that help inflate cell phone prices. And in May, Broadcom said Qualcomm was
straying too far into its patent property in its manufacture of communications chips using Bluetooth gadget-to-gadget connections and WiFi, a high-speed wireless computer access technology.
For Qualcomm, the legal skirmishes seem far from over. The charges Monday address only Qualcomm's GSM patents. So far no legal papers have addressed the company's broader code division multiple access, or CDMA, patent portfolio.
"We are continuing to examine Broadcom's other businesses," Qualcomm's top lawyer, Louis Lupin, said in a press release.
On Monday, Qualcomm advanced 57 cents to $35.32 and Broadcom rose 19 cents to $37.85.