Judge Tells Qualcomm It Waived Right To Enforce Patents

from the that's-gotta-hurt dept

This has not been a good week for Qualcomm on the patent front. The company, which relies heavily on the patent system for its business model, is discovering that putting so much faith in patents can be a two-edged sword. It’s already been covered that the President Bush refused to intervene in the International Trade Commission’s decision to bar the import of next generation Qualcomm chips. However, as with many patent infringement fights, this battle is taking place on many fronts at once, with both sides suing each other over various patent infringement claims (the so-called nuclear war that is bound to break out when companies view patents as nuclear stockpiling). In one of the cases where Qualcomm charged Broadcom with infringement (rather than the other way around), a judge hasn’t just sided with Broadcom, but has stated that Qualcomm waived its right to enforce the patents in question by withholding info on the patents from a standards body. This type of behavior is becoming all too common when patents and standards bodies mix — and it’s causing all sorts of problems in delaying, fracturing and generally killing technology standards that would be helpful in driving the market forward. For its part, Qualcomm claims it played by the rules, though, that’s not saying it actually disclosed everything. Either way, it’s yet another reminder that patents are very much a two-edged sword, and those who bet entire business models on patents need to recognize how it can backfire.

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Companies: broadcom, qualcomm

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Comments on “Judge Tells Qualcomm It Waived Right To Enforce Patents”

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Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Standards in tech

This is slightly off topic of the original post, but,
If a technology is subject to becoming a standard, it should have all patents on it revoked. At least if its an ISO standards like 802.11b style or some such similar level of standard.
I think that would help everyone out more since if it is a standard its bound to be in lots of stuff.
Although, I am not an economist and don’t know if that truly would help or not. Just sounds like it would because no royalties or license fess to be paid for putting it into the standard.

And my main argument against a standard still having its patents, if its a standard, its gotta be pretty dang obvious by now.

Kevin says:

Re: Standards in tech

If a technology is subject to becoming a standard, it should have all patents on it revoked. At least if its an ISO standards like 802.11b style or some such similar level of standard.

That’s probably a bit much. As long as the patents are disclosed well in advance of it becoming a standard then I don’t have an issue with it. Sometimes the best way to do something is already patented, but that doesn’t meant that you should have to find some other way to do it. But that’s something that needs to be weighed by the standards body/committee when they deliberate on new standards.

But not only should they disclose patented tech that they submit to a standards body, they should disclose whether submit tech is patent pending. Rambus got into hot water over this by submitting tech to the JEDEC standards committee that they had patents pending on without disclosing that fact. The intention appears to have been to get their patented tech inadvertently included in the new memory standard, resulting in a boatload of money for them (that nobody knew they would have to pay when they adopted the standard).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Standards in tech

True. Just revoking patents cause some group wants to make it a standard seems a bit drastic. It shouldn’t be the creator’s fault that they thought of the best way to do something. The draft of the standard should be researched and made available to the public. If any of the technology is already patented or patent pending, the standards body must be made aware of it ahead of time.

So, this way, no one can come around later and say that the standard is infringing on their patent.

Jeff says:

Re: Re: Standards in tech

It’s become the new “big lie” in tech, repeat it enough and everyone will believe it’s true. Now, not making any statement about the propriety or lack thereof of rambus’ behavior – they DID NOT present/submit/suggest/etc. ANY technology to JEDEC either before or during the standards process – in fact, they were prohibited from doing so by the JEDEC committee chair despite several requests that they be able to present (and their presentation would have triggered a clear disclosure obligation). What they did do was sit quietly when their technology was discussed and not say, “hey guys, we have a patent on that.”

The subject of many billable hours over the last 10 years has been whether they had an obligation to speak up about tech that they didn’t propose to the group, and wasn’t proposed by anyone they were allied with.

Sanguine Dream says:


Appearantly there is still at least one judge out there that hasn’t sold her/himself to the highest bidder…for now…

Now if only there was someway to keep the momentum going on this. Damn shame is that if some of the obvious patents that are already on the books were to be rendered invalid there is no way to give the money back they basically stole from businesses that were actually trying to bring something to the market instead of hoarding patents and looking for lawsuit targets.

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