Qualcomm has always been a strong supporter of the patent system, as it was the basis for much of its revenue over the past decade. However, lately, the company has been getting hit left and right by patent lawsuits against it. Last week, though, the company ended up with a few minor (and perhaps temporary) victories against opponents. First, the International Trade Commission tossed out a complaint from Nokia
asking the ITC to ban the import of Qualcomm chips. Nokia had simply taken a page
from Broadcom, who had successfully
used the ITC loophole
to get a second shot at Qualcomm over its patents. Given how often companies have been starting to use this loophole, it's nice to see that the ITC doesn't always rollover for patent holders.
In the meantime, speaking of Broadcom, we had noted last month that thanks to a Supreme Court ruling that raised
the bar for declaring "willful" infringement of a patent, the judge in the Qualcomm-Broadcom suit had given Broadcom a choice
. Either retry the case under the new rules, or drop the "willful" part and get less money from Qualcomm. Broadcom has now chosen the latter option, and will accept a smaller payout from Qualcomm
for infringement. Of course, it's not all good news for Qualcomm. Nokia still has lawsuits going against Qualcomm, with one getting underway in the UK
this week. Broadcom is still seeking the courts to rule for an injunction blocking the import of certain Qualcomm chips as well (even as the ITC is already helping out on that front). Once again, no one seems willing to explain why Broadcom gets to take two whacks at Qualcomm over the same exact issue. In the meantime, while it would be nice to think that these recent messy lawsuits would give Qualcomm a chance to rethink some of its beliefs about the patent system, somehow that seems unlikely to happen any time soon.