Qualcomm has been having a tough time lately being defeated in court by Broadcom over patent disputes. In May, a jury ruled that Qualcomm violated three Broadcom patents, awarding Broadcom $19.6 million. U.S. District Judge James Selna doubled the award to $39.3 million based on the court's finding that that the infringement was deliberate.

On Tuesday, however, the $39.3 million award against Qualcomm was tentatively overturned by judge Selna saying that Qualcomm deserves a new trial because the legal standard for whether patent infringement was deliberate has changed. As it stands now, Broadcom could drop its claim that Qualcomm acted willfully and the verdict holding Qualcomm liable would stand, but the amount of the award would be lowered.

On the other hand, Broadcom can call for a new trial to prove intentional patent infringement, a finding that allows a judge to triple the award under the new standard, but the outcome of the trial could also change. The judge asked both companies to submit any additional briefs by October 26, saying he will make a decision the following week.