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Broadcom Files Antitrust Suit Against Qualcomm

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July 06, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Broadcom Corp. has filed an antitrust lawsuit that accuses larger competitor Qualcomm Inc. of stifling competition and inflating prices in the market for cellphone chips.

Qualcomm threatened to cut off supplies to companies that bought from rivals and coerced users into supporting Qualcomm products over competing ones, according to the suit, filed July 1 in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

The suit escalates legal battles between the companies. In May, Irvine-based Broadcom filed two lawsuits and a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, accusing San Diego-based Qualcomm of infringing its patents.

The suits reflect an effort by Broadcom, which makes semiconductors for cable television set-top boxes, to branch into chips for mobile phones, where Qualcomm trails only Texas Instruments Inc. and dominates a technology known as code division multiple access. Qualcomm has a 90% share of the market for CDMA chip technology, which is used by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Corp., two of the three largest U.S. cellphone carriers.

Broadcom is seeking unspecified damages from Qualcomm and an injunction barring unfair business practices.

A Qualcomm spokeswoman said the Broadcom suit was without merit.

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