Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and AT&T are among the major U.S. wireless carriers that are protesting the decision of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban the importation of wireless handsets containing semiconductors, manufactured by Qualcomm, that violate patents held by Broadcom. Following on a jury verdict in which Qualcomm was found liable for infringing Broadcom patents that cover high-speed data transmissions, video encoding, and other wireless phone functions, the ban corresponds to the ITC’s earlier determination that Qualcomm cellular baseband chips used in EV-DO and W-CDMA handsets manufactured by LG Electronics, Samsung, Motorola and other vendors violate handset power conservation patents held by Broadcom. The ban applies to 4.2 million phones that encompass eleven model lines and that account for approximately 5% of the total U.S. market for wireless handsets. Although the ITC ruling exempts handsets imported prior to June 7 regardless of whether they contain infringing chipsets, Qualcomm and its supporters condemned the decision as one that could stymie new technological innovations and the rollout of third-generation wireless services in the U.S. As wireless association CTIA warned that the ruling “will cause enormous undue harm to tens of millions of American wireless consumers,” a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless claimed that “innovation will come to a trickle if future models are not allowed,” noting: “this industry comes out with new models almost every week.” Verizon and other carriers are expected to join Qualcomm in petitioning the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of the ban. Qualcomm has also vowed to appeal the ruling to the Bush Administration, which can direct the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to veto the ITC order within 60 days. Charging that the ITC overstepped its authority, Qualcomm called on the White House to “avoid turning back the clock on the tremendous gains that have been achieved in mobile broadband communications.” Confirming that it is open to discussions with Qualcomm “regarding the potential for licensing of our patent,” a Broadcom spokesman proclaimed: “the ball is in Qualcomm’s court.”