Qualcomm (QCOM) Lieutenant Walks The Plank

Qualcomm’s (QCOM) legal strategy for defending its intellectual property has been a mess recently. It lost a key ruling with the ITC. The agency said that because the company infringed on certain Broadcom (BRCM) patents that handsets with QCOM technology in them would be banned from import.

Qualcomm also lost a key patent case to Broadcom, and last week the judge in the case doubled the award.

Now, Qualcomm’s general counsel is on his way. The CEO, Paul Jacobs, son of the company’s founder, gets to stay. But, at least the move is a start.

Qualcomm needs to quickly make peace offerings to Broadcom and Nokia (NOK). QCOM is in a licensing battle with the big handset company which is its largest customer.

With a new person running the legal department, the company has a chance to take a fresh approach to litigating every problem. But, the window is probably not open for long.

Douglas A. McIntyre