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Broadcom wins antitrust appeal against Qualcomm

(Adds comment by Qualcomm)

LOS ANGELES, Sept 4 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court in New Jersey ruled on Tuesday that antitrust claims brought by chipmaker Broadcom Corp BRCM.O against rival Qualcomm Inc QCOM.O over Qualcomm's licensing practices can go forward.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the case.

The trial court had ruled that Qualcomm’s alleged conduct did not constitute antitrust activity because an industry-standards board oversaw the licensing activity.

Broadcom’s lawsuit accused Qualcomm of breaking a pledge to the standards board to be fair when licensing patents for technology it owned. That technology has been adopted as an industry standard to promote interoperability among handsets and carriers.

A three-judge appeals panel ruled unanimously that Broadcom had presented enough evidence to go to trial with its claims that Qualcomm “possessed monopoly power” and “maintained its market power willfully and not as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident.”

In a statement, Broadcom General Counsel David Dull said the Irvine, California-based company plans to go to trial in New Jersey “as soon as practicable.”

Qualcomm said in a statement that the court had dismissed six of Broadcom’s claims against Qualcomm and reinstated only two of them.

“Qualcomm vigorously disputes Broadcom’s remaining allegations and is confident that judgment will ultimately be entered in its favor,” the statement read.

The case, filed in 2005, accused Qualcomm of engaging in anticompetitive practices to maintain a monopoly in the U.S. cell phone industry, such as giving lower royalty rates to handset makers who use Qualcomm chips and charging two royalties for handsets that used competitors’ chips.

(Reporting by Gina Keating and Ed Leefeldt)

((Editing by Gary Hill, Leslie Gevirtz, Reuters Messaging: gina.keating.reuters.com@reuters.net; +1 213 955 6776)) Keywords: BROADCOM QUALCOMM/

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