Microtune wins permanent injunction against Broadcom
Microtune Inc. said Wednesday a federal judge has ordered a permanent injunction against Broadcom Corp. that will stop the sale, importing, marketing and shipment in the U.S. of infringing Broadcom tuners and reference designs. The judge granted Microtune a preliminary injunction in late April.
Microtune initially alleged that Broadcom's BCM3415 microchip infringed on a Microtune patent (No. 5,737,035) for an integrated television tuner on a single microcircuit. Microtune said the injunction will be in effect for the life of the patent. Earlier this month, the judge ordered Broadcom to pay Microtune between $7 million and $10 million to cover compensatory damages and all of Microtune's attorney's fees.
Microtune is also charging that Broadcom's new line of BCM3416 chipsets also infringe on the '035 patent. A trial for that case is set for June 7, 2004, but Microtune is pushing for the court to move it up to January 2004.
"We believe this product also infringes on our patent," said Microtune President and CEO James Fontaine, in a statement.
How well Microtune will fare in that case remains a big question mark. Earlier this month, a U.S. federal judge ruled that Broadcom's BCM3416 chipset is not subject to the injunction order originally levied against the BCM3415 chipset.
Broadcom has been shipping the BCM3416 since June. "As we said at the time of that ruling, we viewed the judge's decision...as a major victory for Broadcom, and (Wednesday's) press release from Microtune doesn't change that view," Broadcom said.
The latest injunction is just one of many legal barbs the companies have been flinging at each other.
In a case before the U.S. International Trade Commission, Broadcom has charged Microtune with unfair trade practices. In yet another case, Microtune has alleged that Broadcom violated Texas' Anti-Trust Act by bundling its tuner together with its demodulator chips. Broadcom's bundling maneuver excludes other competitors from winning a substantial share of the cable modem market, Microtune claims.