Qualcomm v. Broadcom - The Federal Circuit Weighs in on "Patent Ambushes"


The Federal Circuit’s decision in Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom Corp.[1] is another important case involving the intersection of intellectual property and standard setting. High-tech companies are increasingly finding themselves at the cross-roads of standardization and efforts to monetize intellectual property. These companies need to participate in industry standard-setting efforts. But participation may have a substantial impact on the ability to enforce intellectual property. A finding that a company failed to abide by the intellectual property rights (IPR) policy of a standard-setting organization (SSO) may preclude the company from enforcing its patents and expose it to substantial liability. A breach of a duty to disclose intellectual property to an SSO may be the basis for antitrust, fraud, or contract liability. In addition, a breach may lead to a waiver of the right to enforce the undisclosed patents or equitable estoppel.

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