Qualcomm, Broadcom settle another patent dispute


SAN DIEGO -- Wireless technology companies Broadcom Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. told a federal judge they agreed to settle a patent dispute involving chips that power mobile phones, less than a week before the case was scheduled for trial.

The agreement was disclosed Wednesday to U.S. District Judge Rudi M. Brewster, whose docket noted that a settlement had been reached. A final agreement had not been filed with the court Thursday.

Bill Blanning, a spokesman for Broadcom, said the companies had informed the court they were in negotiations but had not yet reached a deal to resolve the 2005 claim by Qualcomm that Broadcom was infringing on technology used to control power usage by mobile phones.

"The two companies have not yet reached a settlement with respect to the claims at issue," Blanning wrote in an e-mail. "If and when an agreement is reached, an appropriate announcement will be made."

Bertha Agia, spokeswoman for San Diego-based Qualcomm, declined comment.

The lawsuit, slated to go to trial Monday in a federal court in San Diego, was one of several claims the two companies have filed against each other over intellectual property and licensing.

Separately, Qualcomm said it extended and expanded its cross-licensing agreement with Nortel Networks Corp. Qualcomm licenses a technology known as code division multiple access, or CDMA. Nortel makes telecommunications equipment such as network switching products.

Qualcomm and Broadcom are engaged in wide-ranging legal battle.

In January, a federal jury in San Diego found that Broadcom, based in Irvine, did not infringe on two Qualcomm patents for video compression technology. In February, the companies announced settlements in two separate lawsuits in which they accused each other of patent violations.

Several other patent-infringement suits are still scheduled for trial later this year.

The companies also have a patent dispute scheduled for hearings next week in Washington before the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The hearing, extended from one to two days to accommodate the large number of interested parties, will consider what penalties to impose on Qualcomm for violating a Broadcom patent on technology that helps cell phones conserve battery power when outside cellular network range.

Other companies that have requested to appear before the ITC include Motorola Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp., and Samsung Electronics.

The ITC has said it will complete its investigation by May 8.

Qualcomm shares rose 49 cents, or 1.1%, to close Thursday at $43.70 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. They slipped 3 cents after hours. Broadcom's Nasdaq-traded shares added 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $34.20 and were unchanged after hours.