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U.S. court dismisses Qualcomm appeal of ITC ban

Appeals court says it lacks jurisdiction over order by agency to ban some cell phones containing allegedly patent-infringing chips.
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Written by Reuters on
A U.S. appeals court on Friday dismissed Qualcomm's appeal of an order by a federal trade agency banning some cellular telephones containing Qualcomm chips.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said it lacked jurisdiction over an order by the U.S. International Trade Commission because Qualcomm has a request pending before the Bush administration asking it to invalidate the decision.

"An ITC determination does not become final for purposes of judicial review until the president has either approved of the determination or failed to disapprove within 60 days," the court said.

The administration has until August 6 to review the ITC's June 7 order, which banned imports of future advanced cell phone models using Qualcomm chips.

The ITC, which determines whether imports injure U.S. companies, found that Qualcomm's chips infringe on a patent owned by California-based Broadcom.

But the ITC exempted phone models that were already being imported by June 7.

Qualcomm spokeswoman Emily Gin Kilpatrick said the court ruling was based on a procedural issue, not the merits of the case. Qualcomm can go back to court and renew its stay request if the Bush administration does not veto the ban, she said.

Verizon Wireless, which uses Qualcomm's chips in its phones, had supported Qualcomm in its patent dispute against Broadcom. But on Thursday, Verizon Wireless agreed to pay up to $200 million in licensing fees to Broadcom to avoid the ITC ban on imports.

Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 U.S. provider of cellular services, is owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group. The ban on new phone models with Qualcomm chips would also hurt Sprint Nextel, the No. 3 U.S. mobile-service provider.

The Broadcom patent at issue covers technology used to extend the battery life of cell phones when they are outside network coverage.

The appeals court held that it lacked jurisdiction to review a June 21 ITC order denying Qualcomm's request to stay the cell phone ban during the appeal.

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