Broadcom Corp., an Irvine semiconductor maker that wants to get into the market for making chips that run cell phones, has filed two lawsuits accusing San Diego’s Qualcomm of infringing on its patents.
The lawsuits, filed Wednesday in federal court in Santa Ana, said Qualcomm is infringing on 10 Broadcom patents for such technology as digital video, VoIP (voice-over-Internet protocol) and power conservation in wireless devices.
Broadcom makes semiconductors for high-speed wired and wireless communications. Its chips have been used in cell phones for features that, for instance, enable the user to listen through a wireless headset or upload photos wirelessly to a printer.
Qualcomm, developer of wireless technology used in cell phones, makes chips that are the brains inside cell phones.
Qualcomm spokeswoman Emily Gin said the company has no response yet to the lawsuits. “Qualcomm has not received Broadcom’s complaint,” Gin said.
David Rosmann, Broadcom’s vice president of intellectual-property litigation, said the company has talked with Qualcomm executives about the dispute.
“I think it’s fair to say we were unable to agree on the value of our IP (intellectual property),” Rosmann said.
The lawsuits seek unspecified monetary damages from Qualcomm and a permanent injunction barring the company from making or selling products that infringe on Broadcom’s patents.
Qualcomm’s chips that are used in cell phones capable of multimedia or VoIP could be among those affected.
In addition to the lawsuits, Broadcom said it filed a complaint yesterday with the U.S. International Trade Commission. The complaint asks the commission to bar Qualcomm from importing its chips in question that were made overseas. The complaint said chips made by Qualcomm that are brought into the United States violate five of Broadcom’s patents.
The action against Qualcomm comes at a time when Broadcom is planning to start competing directly with the San Diego wireless giant in making “baseband” chips, which are the brains of cell phones.
“We are going into the cell-phone space,” Rosmann said. “I know that some of the chips, the wireless communications chips, that we make go into cell phones now. But I also think we’re moving into the cell-phone space on the baseband side.”