Wireless handset manufacturers are applauding a ruling handed down Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which overturned a decree of the International Trade Commission (ITC) that banned the importation of handsets containing Qualcomm chips that infringe upon patents held by Broadcom Corp. After determining that certain third-generation Qualcomm chipsets violate a battery technology patent held by Qualcomm, the ITC in June 2007 prohibited U.S. wireless firms from importing foreign-made handsets, PDAs and other wireless devices that contain the chipsets in question. While concluding that Qualcomm did not directly violate the patents at the heart of the case, the ITC determined that an import ban was warranted as Qualcomm engaged in “induced infringement” through which it led manufacturers to infringe Broadcom patents by providing them with software, training and other support needed to incorporate the infringing technology into wireless devices. Motorola, Samsung and other manufacturers of devices that used the chipsets in question, however, were never named as defendants in the patent case. At the behest of Qualcomm, and manufacturers and carriers that include T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel, the Federal Circuit stayed the ITC import ban in September 2007 pending its ruling on the companies’ appeal. Remanding the import ban to the ITC, the Federal Circuit observed that the ITC’s record “falls short of the necessary intent showing for inducement—that Qualcomm possessed a specific intent to cause infringement of Broadcom’s patent.” The court also said that the ITC lacked authority to ban imported handsets of manufacturers who were not named as defendants by Broadcom, noting that the ITC is permitted under law “to exclude only the violating products of respondents named by the complainant.” Qualcomm praised the court’s ruling as one that “[disapproves] Broadcom’s tactic of attacking the wireless industry, including handset manufacturers and wireless operators, without providing them with the opportunity to defend themselves.”