Caltech Spars with Broadcom Over Discovery of Wi-Fi Chip Evidence in Patent Dispute

A motion filed Monday by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) asked for a court order compelling Broadcom Corp. and Broadcom Inc. (together, Broadcom) to produce documents requested in subpoenas served in an Eastern District of Texas patent suit against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Caltech’s motion argues that Broadcom’s claim preclusion contentions concerning other litigation the two are involved in are meritless.

The four-patent Texas case against Samsung concerns its alleged copying of intellectual property belonging to Caltech and relating to “a class of error correction codes,” that “can be used to correct errors in transmissions that occur over a wireless communications channel, such as Wi-Fi.” 

The present filing claims that Caltech needs “straightforwardly relevant discovery regarding Wi-Fi chips that [Broadcom] sold to Samsung.” In support of relevancy, Caltech says that Samsung identified certain Broadcom chips as performing a relevant functionality in the accused infringing products, and as such, information about the operation of the chips is probative to its case. 

Yet, the plaintiff claims that Broadcom has resisted its discovery efforts. Specifically, the motion asserts that Broadcom’s claim preclusion argument is not an appropriate basis to resist discovery.

Broadcom’s contention is grounded in a high-profile patent action by Caltech against Apple and Broadcom. Earlier this year, the Federal Circuit upheld a jury’s verdict of infringement, but vacated the damages award and remanded for a new trial on that issue. Caltech notes that it filed a petition for a writ of certiorari and claims that there is not yet a final judgment on liability as a new trial will only proceed after next June.

In addition, Caltech asserts that Broadcom neither raises an argument as to burden nor could it, “given the clear nature of Caltech’s requests and that Broadcom has gathered similar discovery for another action.”

Caltech’s action against Broadcom is proceeding in San Jose, Calif. and Caltech is represented by Susman Godfrey LLP.