US judge recommends SiRF ban

August 29, 2008 | 10:44

Tags: #ban #gps #patent #sat-nav

Companies: #broadcom #sirf

Decent GPS devices might be harder to come by in the US soon, as a court has recommended a ban on the import of the popular SiRF Star III chip.

According to Engadget, a US International Trade Commission judge has upheld a complaint by Broadcom alleging that SiRF's well-regarded Star III global positioning chip – as used in pretty much every consumer-level sat-nav system on the market – infringes several patents, and will accordingly recommend that a full ban on the import of SiRF's GPS products is carried out.

While the news is clearly bad for SiRF, it's not exactly great for the rest of the industry – SiRFs chips are nearly ubiquitous, because they do a very good job of receiving and calculating GPS data in harsh conditions for not a lot of money. When I moved away from a no-name GPS puck to a SiRF Star III unit, I was amazed to find I could actually get a position lock indoors – something none of the competing products were able to do at the time, at least in my price range.

The hammer has yet to fall, however, with a final decision by the International Trade Commission to come in December of this year. Regardless, SiRF is already feeling the pressure with a 24 percent drop in share price since the news broke, and rumours that at least one customer is looking to switch to a competitor's product ahead of any ban being enforced.

For its part, SiRF is still denying any wrongdoing, and has asked for the US Patent and Trademarks Office to re-examine the six patents which Broadcom allege the company has violated.

Is Broadcom trying to bully the little guy, or did SiRF really take a bit of a short cut when making their popular Star III units? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
Discuss this in the forums
YouTube logo
MSI MPG Velox 100R Chassis Review

October 14 2021 | 15:04