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June 8, 2007

Broadcom's controversial patents are local

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 1:08 PM

The U.S. International Trade Commission has imposed a ban on some imported phones made with Qualcomm chips because the chips violate a patent held by Broadcom,

The industry fears that the federal agency's decision could slow the introduction of new handsets and lead to higher prices for cellphone users,.

The commission's decision, which stems from a patent-infringement complaint brought by Broadcom, could cause problems for carriers that want to introduce more-advanced handsets.

Interestingly enough, these patents have a local connection. The Wall Street Journal reported today that in December 2002 Broadcom paid $24 million for a set of patents issued to Everett-based Intermec, a subsidiary of Unova (Unova later adopted Intermec as its name).

With a little sleuthing, we found that the patent, issued in August 1995, was given to inventors Steven Koenck, Patrick Kinney, Ronald Mahany, Robert Meier and Phillip Miller.

Seattle Times researcher Gene Balk later found that the inventors were from Iowa at the time and did not live here.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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Angel Gonzalez
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Kristi Heim
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