Chalk up another victory for communications chipmaker Broadcom
Four commissioners voted in favor of the remedial relief for Broadcom that effectively keeps wireless carriers Verizon
Representatives from many carriers argued to the commission for a more limited remedy that doesn't punish them for the dispute between two suppliers. Whether the ban should include downstream products -- those wireless devices that contain Qualcomm's chips, rather than just the chips themselves -- was the most contested portion of the decision. Many carriers are concerned they may not be able to import models to compete with or offer as a cheaper alternative to Apple's
The order from the commission was made based upon Qualcomm's infringement of five claims in a single patent owned by Broadcom. The two companies have been negotiating for years on terms of a licensing deal, but like Qualcomm's current stalemate with Nokia
While Qualcomm investors are not used to losing legal battles, this war is far from over and investors in both companies should still be prepared for a long, drawn-out confrontation. Each company seems to be holding fast to their positions in negotiations for a license, and each still has a quiverful of legal arrows to fire at each other. Spreading the pain to the surrounding industry will step up pressure to reach an agreement though, so this fight will likely get worse before it gets better.
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