Qualcomm GC quits following £20m patent defeat

The general counsel for the world’s second-largest mobile phone chip maker Qualcomm has quit after losing a massive patent case.

Lou Lupin stepped down from his post as general counsel yesterday following a court ruling ordering Qualcomm to pay $39.3m (£19.6m) to smaller rival company Broadcom for violating three Broadcom patents on cell phone technology earlier in the day. His resignation is with immediate effect.

Although Qualcomm does not have a replacement lined up, senior vice president Carol Lam, one of the eight federal prosecutors fired by the Bush administration, will fill Lupin’s role in the short term. Lam joined the company in February.

Lupin, who joined Qualcomm in 1995, had been the general counsel since 2000. Qualcomm representatives have said that although Lupin is stepping down from his role, he will remain with the company in some capacity.

His resignation is a blow for the Qualcomm legal team that is currently embroiled in a legal face-off with Nokia. The two companies failed to renew a licensing agreement in April, which triggered a stand-off between the two wireless giants. Nokia is refusing to pay royalties to Qualcomm and is claiming that its license agreement with Qualcomm has ended entitling Nokia to renegotiate terms.