The U.S. International Trade Commission has denied a request by Qualcomm Inc. to stay an ITC ban on the importation of some Qualcomm chips and cell phones into the U.S. while the company continues its appeal in a patent infringement case filed against it by Broadcom Corp.
The ITC found in an eight-page ruling issued Thursday that Qualcomm failed to meet a "four-prong test" applied in courts trying to determine whether to grant preliminary injunctions. The test was also used in this particular case by a U.S. federal court and requires that Qualcomm prove: a likelihood its appeal will succeed; that irreparable harm will be done to it if the stay is not imposed; that "issuance of a stay would not substantially harm other parties"; and "that the public interest favors a stay."
After reviewing arguments and also hearing from other companies in the same market, the ITC found that Qualcomm didn't meet the requirements of the four-prong test.
The ITC issued the ban on June 7 after hearings on the matter. The ban applies to some future mobile phones using Qualcomm 3G (third-generation) chips after the ITC found that Qualcomm infringed on one Broadcom patent. A jury in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana found in late May that Qualcomm infringed on three other Broadcom patents and awarded Broadcom US$19.6 million in damages.
A few hours before the ITC ruling came out, the head of the CTIA cellular industry association sent a letter to U.S. President George Bush urging him to toss out the ban, contending that it will "freeze innovation" for U.S. wireless networks and hinder industry efforts to improve emergency 911 services.
The intervention of a president would be rare in such an instance, but even if Bush does not act as the CTIA has requested Qualcomm can appeal the ITC ban to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
As would be expected, Broadcom hailed the ITC decision, with its Senior Vice President and General Counsel David A. Dull saying in a statement that "the protection of intellectual property is essential to American competitiveness and innovation ... particularly in this age of advanced technology and huge worldwide consumer demand for electronic devices and equipment." He further noted that "the burden of resolving these matters rests squarely with Qualcomm."
No word yet on the matter from Qualcomm, which is based in San Diego and so no one there was available to comment Friday morning U.S. Eastern Time.