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Qualcomm Inc., the second-biggest maker of chips that run mobile phones, named Apple Inc. general counsel Donald Rosenberg as its new top lawyer to help defend a series of patent and antitrust lawsuits against the company. Apple also said today it was hiring Oracle Corp.'s Daniel Cooperman to replace Rosenberg, who'd been at Apple less than a year. "It seems unusual to move so quickly and move from such a successful company to such a troubled one," said Rees Morrison, of legal consultant Hildebrandt International, of the Qualcomm hiring.

Qualcomm had been looking to fill the general counsel post, the top in-house company lawyer, after previous top lawyer Lou Lupin quit last month. The San Diego-based company, ensnarled in patent litigation with Nokia Oyj and competitor Broadcom Corp., suffered several litigation setbacks earlier this year.

In June, the International Trade Commission ordered an import ban on newer models of phones that run on Qualcomm chips because the chips infringe a Broadcom patent. The ruling, which threatened to prevent phone companies from introducing new models for the holiday season, was put on hold earlier this month by an appeals court.

In August, a federal judge ruled Qualcomm intentionally infringed Irvine, California-based Broadcom's patents and ordered Qualcomm to pay twice as much in damages as originally ordered.

Evidence

Another court ruled Qualcomm withheld evidence in a separate lawsuit and that former company attorneys could face possible fines or sanctions for what that judge called an "organized program of litigation misconduct."

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court revived a Broadcom antitrust lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of stifling competition for chips.

Qualcomm is also embroiled in nearly a dozen legal battles with Finland-based Nokia, the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, over how much Nokia must pay to license Qualcomm's patents for the newest generation of phones with faster Internet access.

Earlier this month, the ITC said it would investigate patent-infringement claims by Nokia against Qualcomm.

After Lupin resigned in August for what Qualcomm called "personal" reasons, Carol Lam, previously the San Diego U.S. attorney, replaced him on an interim basis.

Apple

Rosenberg, 56, joins Qualcomm after working at Cupertino, California-based Apple for less than a year. He joined Apple last November after former General Counsel Nancy Heinen left in May 2006. She was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for her alleged role in improperly backdating stock-option grants.

Rosenberg, who will join Qualcomm Oct. 8, was previously general counsel at International Business Machines Corp.

Rosenberg will be replaced by Oracle's Cooperman, who will also hold the titles of senior vice president and secretary. Cooperman joined Apple Nov. 1 from Oracle.

"He has experience as a legal strategist in so many areas, including antitrust, regulatory and IP," said Qualcomm spokeswoman Emily Kilpatrick.

Apple spokeswoman Susan Lundgren declined to comment. Oracle's Bob Wynne didn't return a call seeking comment.

Texas Instruments Inc. is the biggest mobile-phone chipmaker.

Qualcomm shares rose 3 cents to $42.26 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading.


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