A federal judge Wednesday halted an import ban on mobile phones by Qualcomm Inc., a rare legal victory in a long-standing patent dispute with rival Broadcom Corp.
Judge Haldane Mayer on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a request by several mobile phone manufacturers and AT&T Inc.'s wireless division to stay the ban the federal government ordered in June.
The U.S. International Trade Commission barred imports of new mobile phone models with Qualcomm chips after determining that the company had violated a patent held by chip-maker Broadcom on battery power-saving technology. The White House refused to overturn the ban in August.
The ITC's ruling applied to chips that are used in new, high-end phones that can transmit video and data at high speeds. Mayer's decision Wednesday will allow carriers such as Sprint Nextel Corp. and manufacturers like LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. to introduce new phone models later this year.
Numerous companies that use Qualcomm chips in the cell phones they manufacture, including Motorola Inc., Samsung and T-Mobile USA Inc., appealed the ITC ruling. They argued that since Broadcom only filed its complaint against Qualcomm, the ITC did not have the authority to block imports by companies other than Qualcomm.
The judge agreed with the appealing companies and stayed the ITC's order pending their appeal. The stay applies only to the companies that filed the appeal.
"We are pleased that the Court of Appeals recognized the undeserved harm to parties who were not named in the lawsuit, and that our customers will continue to be able to introduce new products into the U.S. marketplace during the appeals process," said Alex H. Rogers, Qualcomm's senior vice president and legal counsel.
A comment from Broadcom was not immediately available.
Qualcomm shares rose 83 cents to $38.70 in after-hours trading after ending the regular session down 14 cents to close at $37.87. Broadcom shares ended the regular session down 9 cents to $35.37 and were unchanged after hours.
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