Earlier today, we wrote about Broadcom succeeding in getting the International Trade Commission to ban the import of new phones using Qualcomm technology, noting that it was a way of routing around the rules of the patent system. What we left out was that Qualcomm, of all companies, is one of the biggest defenders of the patent system and tends to want stronger patent laws. In many ways, Qualcomm's entire business is based on its patents -- so this really is something of a "live by the sword, die by the sword" situation (though, we doubt that Qualcomm recognizes this). However, in response to the ITC ruling, Qualcomm has decided that it deserves some special attention from the top: it's asking President Bush to veto the ITC order. Yes, President Bush will now be deciding whether or not Broadcom can enforce it's patents, forcing Qualcomm to settle. Qualcomm also has some help. All of the handset makers that use Qualcomm chips are weighing in on how ridiculous this is. In the meantime, it appears our fears about the use of the ITC as a second crack at patent enforcement are definitely coming true. The latest is that Ford has convinced the ITC to ban the import of certain after market grilles, headlights, bumpers, side-view mirrors and taillights for the F-150 truck -- saying that they infringe on Ford patents.
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