We avoided the last turning of the Qualcomm vs. Broadcom screw because, well, it's just becoming so darn tiring. If you missed that last month, what happened is a US Appeals court affirmed that Qualcomm infringed on two Broadcomm patents and therefore needed to pay up [via Engadget]. These were related to EVDO, QChat, and video processing. Now leave that stewing in the back of your mind.
In the front of your mind, recall that we had ourselves a little panic last year as courts told Qualcomm they weren't allowed to import certain chips into the US. This was pretty bad, but Verizon decided to pony up licensing fees so they could continue to use the chips, Sprint tried to insert themselves into the conversation, and President Bush declined to stop the International Trade Commission's (ITC) ban.
All clear? Good -- Next up, from Patently-O: the ITC's decision has been vacated by a Federal Circuit court because the original ITC decision didn't find “inducement of infringement” and also found that the ITC didn't really have the authority to exclude imports in the exact method that they used. In short, the Qualcomm chip ban has been lifted (for now)
The upshot is that Broadcom still can collect the damages you read about in the first paragraph, the ban you read about in the second paragraph has been lifted, but the court finding in the third paragraph can probably be appealed and the ban reinstated at some future date. ...and you were starting to suspect that patent lawsuits were adding uncertainty to the marketplace -- for shame!
Thanks to Dave for the tip!
(p.s. The above has nothing to do with the US not getting the Touch HD. Seriously, everybody, you have to let that one go and dream of the 'other cool stuff.')