by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 20th 2007 12:43am
A few months ago, we pointed out that since the Supreme Court made it clear that patent injunctions were being used too often, many companies were starting to use a loophole. Rather than just going through the courts to get an injunction, they would go to the US International Trade Commission and ask it for an injunction against those they accused of patent infringement. While courts need to follow the lead of the Supreme Court, the ITC could make whatever decision it wanted on whether or not a particular product actually did infringe and whether or not an injunction should be granted. It gives patent holders a second shot, outside of the court system, to get an injunction. In fact, right after we discussed this, Broadcom used exactly that loophole to get an injunction against certain Qualcomm chips. Qualcomm has been fighting this injunction without much luck, and it seems to have encouraged others to try the same thing. Nokia and Qualcomm have been engaged in a rather vicious patent fight recently -- and suddenly Nokia has come up with a strategy of (you guessed it) asking the ITC to ban the import of Qualcomm chips for patent infringement. Wonder where that idea came from? The folks at the ITC might want to start staffing up in the division that has to review these patent injunction requests. It sounds like there's going to be plenty to do in the near future.
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