It’s one of the tech world’s never-ending stories: infringement lawsuits between wireless chip makers Broadcom and Qualcomm. The two companies have been involved in protracted and bitter disputes over CDMA patents, with Broadcom even winning an injunction to keep infringing Qualcomm chipsets from being imported into the United States—an a judge recently ruled Qualcomm in contempt of that injunction. Now, Broadcom has filed a new suit against Qualcomm, alleging the company is using “exhausted” patents that are no longer enforceable under U.S. law to control post-sale use of particular wireless communications products—and that practice results in a double recovery of royalties and other frees to Qualcomm. According to Broadcom, the practice not only brings an undeserved windfall to Qualcomm,but also constitutes patent misuse since it harms the wireless industry and the greater consumer marketplace.
Qualcomm has not yet publicly responded to the suit. The suit was filed in the Southern District of California in San Diego.
Industry watchers see the new suit as yet another tactic in the broader legal battle between the two companies, in which both companies are seeking a legal advantage they can leverage in negotiations to work out patent licensing agreements.