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Broadcom adds patents to Microtune suit

Sun, 01/26/2003 - 7:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Broadcom Corp. is alleging that tuners, power amplifiers and Bluetooth products made by Texas-based competitor Microtune Inc. infringe on three Broadcom patents.

Broadcom's complaint — filed last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division — marks the latest salvo to be fired in an ongoing legal squabble between the silicon tuner rivals.

Last July, Broadcom filed a lawsuit against Microtune in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging that Microtune's solid-state RF tuner products infringe on a fourth Broadcom patent. That trial is scheduled to begin in January 2004. Broadcom said it is seeking a permanent injunction barring manufacture and sale of the alleged infringing Microtune products and undisclosed monetary damages.

In a case of dueling lawsuits, Broadcom's legal actions have followed those of its Microtune rival. Last August, Microtune applauded the results (see www.cedmagazine.com) of a Markman hearing for a silicon tuner technology patent infringement case Microtune has brought against Broadcom. That trial, after some initial delays, is slated to begin March 3, according to a Microtune spokesperson.

Legal actions aside, Broadcom has been dealing with plenty of internal and financial strife (see www.cedmagazine.com) recently. Last Thursday, company co-founder Dr. Henry Nicholas III announced his resignation to "attend to serious family matters." Broadcom then posted a fourth quarter net loss of $1.75 billion, after special charges.

Monday's news did little to help either company's stock. Broadcom shares were down 90 cents (5.96 percent) to $14.21 per share in early trading Monday. Shares of Microtune, meanwhile, plunged 20.65 percent (53 cents) to about $2.07 apiece.

Last Friday, Microtune announced it had rescheduled the release of its fourth quarter results for February 20.

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