SIX ATTORNEYS at Qualcomm have been accused of "exceptional misconduct" by a federal magistrate and referred to the California State Bar for discipline.
During pretrial discovery in recent patent litigation with competitor Broadcom, mobile chipmaker Qualcomm improperly withheld tens of thousands of pages of emails and documents from its adversary and the court, US Magistrate Judge Barbara Major alleged in her 48-page ruling on the case.
At issue in the lawsuit was whether Qualcomm had disclosed its relevant patents to a standards committee.
With teeth clenched, presumably, the judge wrote: "Producing 1.2 million pages of marginally relevant documents while hiding 46,000 critically important ones does not constitute good faith and does not satisfy either the client's or attorney's discovery obligations."
In a statement following Monday's decision, Qualcomm said it regretted "the discovery errors that occurred in this case." It pointed out that it turned over the documents as soon as it found them -- after the trial was over -- and said, "These actions defy any suggestion that Qualcomm engaged in intentional misconduct."
The judge exonerated 13 other attorneys who had represented Qualcomm and ordered the company to review its discovery practices and report back to her later this month.
Qualcomm lost the case and is appealing the court's decision. µ
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