Sauce for the gander

Qualcomm has a massive number of patents in cellular technology, including most (all?) of the fundamental CDMA patents. Qualcomm owns a substantial number of the patents used in your cellphone, and gleans enormous revenues from licensing them. This is as it should be. Inventors should be rewarded for their creativity. But Qualcomm is notorious for going one step further, claiming that its intellectual property is even more valuable than it actually is, and using its patent portfolio aggressively.

So Qualcomm’s competitors are undoubtedly chuckling over Qualcomm’s comeuppance this week at the hands of Broadcom.

I don’t know the details of this case; for all I know it may be another travesty like the NTP/RIM case, where RIM was forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to a patent troll with patents that the USPTO apparently found to be invalid. The huge difference here is that Broadcom doesn’t just own the patents that Qualcomm was found to be breaching, but unlike NTP Broadcom uses those patents in its own products that compete against Qualcomm’s.

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