ITC Rules Against SiRF in Broadcom Case

In an initial ruling, the U.S. International Trade Commission found that GPS (Global Positioning System) chip maker SiRF infringed six Broadcom patents.

The patents, held by Broadcom subsidiary Global Locate, improve GPS processing and sensitivity, Broadcom said. A range of SiRF products, including those that include the SiRFstarIII and SiRFInstant GPS technologies, were found to infringe the patents, Broadcom said.

The ITC still must make a final determination on the matter, and that's expected by December, Broadcom said.

SiRF did not reply to a request for comment about the ITC ruling.

This is not the only dispute between the companies. An earlier ITC ruling found that Broadcom did not infringe two patents, as alleged by SiRF. In addition, Broadcom and Global Locate have filed patent-infringement lawsuits against SiRF in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana.

Broadcom, a major communications processor vendor, bought Global Locate last year in order to be able to sell chips for mobile phones and other handheld devices that include GPS capabilities.

The market for GPS chips is heating up as an increasing number of mobile phones include the technology, partly due to government regulations in the U.S. that require mobile operators to be able to locate wireless callers in emergency situations. The newest iPhone includes GPS capabilities, but its maker, Apple, doesn't typically reveal which vendors supply components such as GPS chips.

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