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Microtune says court halts Broadcom from selling, importing silicon tuner

Thu, 04/17/2003 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

In the latest development in an ongoing battle between two competitors, Microtune Inc. said a court in Texas has barred Broadcom Corp. from selling or importing into the U.S. its BCM3415 silicon tuner and "certain" reference design boards containing that product.

The court also said "products merely colorably different" from the BCM3415 tuner would also fall under the injunction order, Microtune said.

The ruling could have an affect on manufacturers that use or have made plans to use Broadcom's silicon tuner instead of more traditional can tuners in their products.

Broadcom, in a written statement, countered that the ruling would not have a significant impact on its customers, but said it would appeal the ruling, nonetheless. Moreover, Broadcom said it would continue to develop tuner technology and introduce new tuner products.

Broadcom also pointed out that that the injunction applies only to tuner business in the U.S., "where we do little tuner business. All manufacturing and sales of the disputed chip occurs outside the U.S."

The preliminary injunction, ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, stems from a jury verdict last month that found Broadcom had willfully infringed on Microtune's patent for single-chip tuner technology.

In a 10-K filed March 31, Broadcom wrote that it plans to file post-trial motions in this case and ask the court to reverse the jury verdict and/or order a new trial. Prior to the trial, Broadcom also noted that the parties stipulated to patent damages for an amount not to exceed $1.2 million "for our sales of allegedly infringing products prior to January 2003."

The court, however, has yet to make a final decision on financial damages, if any, due to Microtune in the case.

The legal battles being waged between the two rivals appear to be far from over.

Broadcom, in a separate lawsuit filed in the U.S. International Trade Commission, has alleged that Microtune has engaged in unfair trade practices by importing tuners, power amplifiers and Bluetooth-based products based on two Broadcom patents.

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