Update: Qualcomm phone chips banned in US

Posted by Mark Raby

Washington (DC) - The United States has barred the importation of certain cell phone chips from Qualcomm, after a trade panel deemed it infringes on patents owned by rival Broadcom.

Qualcomm's 3G (third generation) chips are used to power advanced mobile applications and have been used by Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T.  The International Trade Commission concurred with Broadcom when it accused Qualcomm's technology of infringing on a US patent that it owns.

The ITC issued a statement that says, "The Commission is issuing a limited exclusion order that bars the importation of Qualcomm's infringing chips and chipsets and circuit board modules or carriers containing them."

The ban also includes actual devices, like cell phones and PDAs, that contain the offending chips from Qualcomm.

According to research firm iSuppli, around 4.2 million shipments estimated for the rest of 2007 would be affected, or around 4.4% of the mobile phone market.  11 different cell phone models are anticipated to be impacted.  Samsung, LG, and Motorola will be the hardest hit, says iSuppli.  However, says the firm, the ban should not impact the number of phones overall expected to be shipped in the second half of the year.

Qualcomm has also had a history of patent disputes with Nokia.  Most recently, it won a case against the Finnish mobile phone giant last month in which Nokia paid Qualcomm over $20 million in a settlement.