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Court leaves intact ban on Qualcomm selling some chips

Court lets stand an order barring wireless chipmaker Qualcomm from selling chips that infringe on three of Broadcom's patents.(From Reuters)

Broadcom said Wednesday a U.S. appeals court let stand a lower court order barring wireless chipmaker Qualcomm from selling chips that infringe on three of its patents.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. rejected a bid by Qualcomm to lift a California trial court's injunction that stopped it from selling chips found by a California jury in 2007 to infringe on the Broadcom patents.

Qualcomm wanted to continue selling the third-generation, or 3G, WCDMA chips while it appealed that verdict.

The appeals court, in its ruling on Tuesday, also dismissed an attempt by Sprint Nextel to intervene in the case.

"We are gratified that the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected Qualcomm's motion for a stay, leaving in force the injunction against Qualcomm's infringement issued by the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana," Broadcom General Counsel David Dull said in a statement.

A Qualcomm spokeswoman said although the motion for a stay was denied, the appeals court granted the company's request for an expedited schedule.

WCDMA mobile wireless technology provides much higher data speeds to mobile and portable wireless devices than most North American networks.

Under U.S. District Judge James Selna's order, Qualcomm also must pay mandatory royalties to Broadcom for the chips it sells during the "sunset period" ending January 31, 2009.

Selna ruled that after the "sunset" date, Qualcomm would be permanently barred from infringing the three Broadcom patents.

Sprint Nextel Corp plans to put a walkie-talkie-style feature, which it called QChat, covered by one of the Broadcom patents in phones in the first quarter of 2008 using Qualcomm chips.

Qualcomm has said the injunction on 3G chips would hurt in the short term, but it promised to have alternative products in phones before the end of the current quarter.