by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 25th 2007 12:17am
We've covered the somewhat ridiculous patent lawsuit between Qualcomm and Broadcom that has gone on for quite some time (and still has a ways to go). Broadcom convinced the US International Trade Commission to ban the import of next generation Qualcomm chips (while still letting current chip technology be imported). That gave Qualcomm some time to fight the ban, but it clearly worried some of Qualcomm's customers. One of Qualcomm's largest customers, Verizon Wireless, apparently has decided that it doesn't like the uncertainty over all of this and is paying a license to Broadcom itself on the chips, effectively paying the patent licensing fee that Qualcomm is fighting, just in case Qualcomm loses. Still, it's pretty expensive ($6 per phone) and it likely means that Verizon Wireless phones will be more expensive even though the legal process hasn't yet run its course. Of course, Broadcom could also turn around and claim that both Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless should need to pay the license (which is quite common in patent suits of this nature), meaning that this might not even take Qualcomm off the hook for the Verizon Wireless phones.
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