Apple Faces Ericsson Lawsuit After Refusing Licensing Deal

ipad_iphone_ios_8Apple faces further legal action from Ericsson this week after refusing to accept a licensing deal for its patented LTE technologies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Swedish networking company on Friday said it is suing Apple for infringing 41 wireless-related patents that it believes are critical to the functionality of products such as the iPhone and iPad.

“By refusing Ericsson’s fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation,” the company said in a statement.

Ericsson has filed two complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to secure an exclusion order against Apple, which could block the iPhone, iPad and other products involved from being sold in the United States. The company has also filed seven complaints with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas as part of the negotiations. Apple's previous licensing deal with Ericsson expired in mid-January.

Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson on January 12, arguing that it was demanding excessive royalties for patents not essential to LTE standards. Ericsson countersued in a Texas courtroom just hours later, seeking an estimated $250 million to $750 million in royalties per year for Apple to continue licensing its patented wireless technologies. Ericsson is the world's largest provider of mobile network equipment and holds over 35,000 patents related to 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies.

Apple was ordered to pay Smartflash LLC a $533 million settlement earlier this week in a separate patent lawsuit.

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Top Rated Comments

Lennholm Avatar
122 months ago
Calling Ericsson a "patent troll" is hilarious. This is the company that together with Nokia, Motorola etc. invented and built the entire mobile infrastructure that Apple, Samsung and everyone else on the market now relies on.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bushido Avatar
122 months ago
that actually seems reasonable to me in that case.

Ericsson licenced patented technology to Apple so Apple agreed to it in the past
Negotiations broke down over continued licencing
Licence expired
Apple continued to used the tech without permission
Ericsson offered to have a third party determine a fair compensation
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
122 months ago
Yet another sad case of Patent Trolls looking for Apple's money in Tyler, Texas. (I live in Dallas, it's nothing against Tyler. It's just the ambulance-chaser/troll mentality that kills me.)

The thing is, at $250 million a year, an individual Apple C-Level could pay it off and be done with it. I think we're looking more at a "principle of the matter" issue for Apple, and the whole thing is just a big tempest in a teapot.

Believing that this case has anything to do with patent trolls makes be believe that you shouldn't be commenting in this thread.

My .02.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
barkomatic Avatar
122 months ago
Yet another sad case of Patent Trolls looking for Apple's money in Tyler, Texas. (I live in Dallas, it's nothing against Tyler. It's just the ambulance-chaser/troll mentality that kills me.)

The thing is, at $250 million a year, an individual Apple C-Level could pay it off and be done with it. I think we're looking more at a "principle of the matter" issue for Apple, and the whole thing is just a big tempest in a teapot.

Ericsson is a real company with employees that provides real services and products. They do not meet the definition of a patent troll.

If Apple has infringed on their patents then they have to pay royalties. Just because Apple is a big company that makes your favorite hardware and/or you own stock in doesn't justify theft of innovation.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdlink Avatar
122 months ago
Okay, so here is a place where patent reform could be had, I think fairly easily.

Apple and Ericsson had a licensing agreement in place that expired. So they both acknowledged that there was a valid patent, and that it was reasonable to license said patent for usage in the devices.

Essentially, this is nothing more than a business negotiation that Ericsson has now taken to litigation. The result is that Apple is now forced to either roll the dice in a jurisdiction that is known to be unfriendly to defendants, or settle with essentially a gun to their head.

Why not create a mediation panel, tied to the USPTO that hears disputes such as this? Each side presents their case, and the panel determines questions of patent validity and value. If either of the parties is unhappy enough with their findings they can appeal the decision through the Federal appeals courts.

At least with this methodology these important decisions can be kept out of the hands of the kangaroo courts in the Eastern Division of Texas.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
122 months ago
Reminds me of the Nokia lawsuit some years back where Apple tried to avoid the licensing deals and lost.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)