A bitter patent dispute between Qualcomm and Broadcom over mobile phones had led to both sides claiming victory through a split ruling.

Administrative Law Judge Charles Bullock found Qualcomm had infringed one patent, but not two other patents involved in the case. However, he also declared all of Broadcom's patents valid, deciding against Qualcomm's claim that they were not..

Bullock also refused Qualcomm's request for Broadcom imports to be blocked due to the patent voilation, but his findings will now be forwarded to the full US International Trade Commission (ITC), which could ruled differently.

The result of this was Qualcomm arguing in a press release: "Judge determines that Qualcomm has not infringed two of three broadcom patents and recommends against downstream remedy", and Broadcom stating: "Judge rules that Qualcomm infringes Broadcom patent."

Broadcom also claims that the Commission will issue a permanent exclusion order barring Qualcomm chips from entering the US "as well as a cease and desist order barring further sales of infringing products that have already been imported into the United States by Qualcomm". Unsurprisingly, Qualcomm has a different view of the future, pointing out that the judge "has recommended that no downstream remedies be implemented against the wireless handsets of third parties that incorporate Qualcomm chips and software". It calls Broadcom's claims "meritless".

The two companies have been embroiled in a complex set of patent actions going both ways. Broadcom first brought the case to the ITC, accusing Qualcomm of violating US trade laws by importing products that infringe patents.

The ITC is scheduled to make a decision by 9 February. Broadcom will ask the Commission to review Bullock's findings on the other two patents and the importation of phones. After the ITC is finished, the company will also sue Qualcomm over the patents in District Court in Santa Ana,California.

The patent now at issue, No. 6,714,983, covers technology for controlling power use in a phone when it is not in service and out of range of coverage, according to Qualcomm. Broadcom has alleged that Qualcomm products infringe 18 of its patents.

Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service