UPDATE 1-SiRF hit after ITC judge urges product import ban

martedì 26 agosto 2008 21:34

(Adds details; updates share movement)

Aug 26 (Reuters) - Shares of chipmaker SiRF Technology SIRF.O fell 24 percent to a lifetime low Tuesday, a day after larger rival Broadcom Corp BRCM.O said a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) judge recommended halting imports of all products with SiRF's chips that infringed Broadcom patents. The recommendation, issued on August 22, follows a ruling by the same judge earlier this month, when he ruled that SiRF infringed on six global positioning system (GPS) patents owned by Broadcom.

Broadcom said the judge, Carl Charneski, also recommended that the ITC enter a cease and desist order barring SiRF from "engaging in certain activities" related to the infringing chips.

The remedy recommendation would bar imports of products by both SiRF as well as products using SiRF's infringing chips, like the ones used in personal navigation devices (PND) and mobile phones.

A final determination by a full six-person commission on both the finding of infringement and the remedy is expected by early December, Broadcom said in a statement.

SiRF did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The patent ruling in favor of Broadcom and the follow-up remedy recommendation by Charneski comes after a June ruling by another ITC judge who rejected SiRF's claim that Broadcom infringed two of its patents.

SiRF Technology is a 13-year-old Silicon Valley company that specializes in making chips for location-aware gadgets made by Garmin (GRMN.O: Quotazione), TomTom (TOM2.AS: Quotazione) or Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: Quotazione) for devices used by drivers, hikers or boaters.

By contrast, Broadcom is one of the world's top 20 chipmakers and one of the most diversified. GPS technology is just one of many product lines that Broadcom produces for use in everything from phones to DVD players to TVs.

Shares of SiRF fell to a low of $1.51, but recovered some of their losses to trade down 23 cents at $1.76 late Tuesday afternoon on Nasdaq. They had dropped more than 40 percent this month before Tuesday's losses. (Reporting by Savio D'Souza, Purwa Naveen Raman in Bangalore; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)