[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] on Monday affirmed [opinion, PDF] in part and vacated in part a ruling against Qualcomm [corporate website], finding its patents unenforceable. The appeals court affirmed the decision [opinion, PDF] of the US District Court of the Southern District of California [official website] in Qualcomm v. Broadcom that held Qualcomm's patents were unenforceable because it breached its duty to report video technology-related patents to the Joint Video Team [official website] standards-setting organization. The court found that by not disclosing the relevant intellectual property rights, Qualcomm was engaging in what is known as "patent hold-up" in an effort to prevent competitors from implementing the technology. The court also affirmed the ruling that Broadcom [corporate website] was entitled to the attorney fees associated with the trial. Judge Sharon Prost [official profile] wrote:
we agree with the district court that Qualcomm had a duty to disclose the asserted patents to the JVT, that it breached its disclosure duty, and that Broadcom was entitled to an award of attorney fees associated with the court’s exceptional case determination.
The court vacated the lower court's judgment that essentially made Qualcomm's patents unenforceable in all cases, holding that the judgment was too broad.
The present lawsuit began in 2005 when Qualcomm filed suit [Wireless Week report] against Broadcom in the federal court. A jury trial was held in January 2007, which resulted in an unanimous verdict [AP report] that Broadcom did not infringe on Qualcomm. In August 2007, the district court granted Broadcom's exceptional case motion based on the evidence and awarded Broadcom its attorney fees. Monday's ruling was the result of Qualcomm's appeal.