Chip maker Broadcom Corp. on Tuesday said it filed an antitrust lawsuit against larger rival Qualcomm Inc., saying Qualcomm is unfairly using its license business to help sell its chips.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeks monetary damages and a permanent injunction barring Qualcomm’s “unfair business practices,” according to a statement from Broadcom.
A Qualcomm spokeswoman said the suit was without merit.
The antitrust lawsuit follows patent infringement and fair trade complaints made by Broadcom against Qualcomm that were disclosed in May. Broadcom said the antitrust case was separate from those suits.
A lawyer for Broadcom said that Qualcomm offers mobile phone makers who buy Qualcomm’s W-CDMA chips a better deal on its technology licenses than companies who choose to buy chips from its competitors.
“They’re using the licensing terms to their advantage in the sale of chipsets,” said George Cary of the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which represents Broadcom.
Qualcomm “has tried to cover up this by insisting on nondisclosure terms to anybody who asks for a license,” Cary added. He said it was too early to estimate the amount Broadcom is seeking in damages because the market for W-CMDA phones is still in the early stages.
Qualcomm recently resolved legal battles with technology license customers Texas Instruments Inc.
“We’re looking into the complaint and believe it’s without merit,” said the Qualcomm spokeswoman, Emily Kilpatrick.