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U.S. ITC to Investigate Apple After Ericsson Patent Infringement Claims

ipad_iphone_ios_8The ongoing conflict between Apple and Ericsson escalated this afternoon as the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed to launch an investigation into claims that Apple infringed on as many as 41 of Ericsson's cellular technology patents with its iPad and iPhone devices, reports PCWorld.

Apple and Ericsson first clashed in January, after the expiration of a 2008 licensing agreement between the two companies. Despite two years of negotiations, the companies failed to establish a new agreement that would let Apple use Ericsson's cellular technology patents.

Apple filed a complaint suggesting Ericsson was both demanding excessive royalties for LTE patents and wrongly claiming its patents as essential for the LTE wireless communication standard. Ericsson responded with its own complaint, asking the court to determine whether its licensing fees were fair.

Ericsson's cellular technology patents are considered essential and are subject to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). According to Ericsson, the licensing deal it offered Apple (estimated to be between $250 million and $750 million annually) was reasonable, but Apple disagreed.

In February, Ericsson went on to file seven new lawsuits against Apple and two complaints with U.S. ITC in an effort to prevent Apple from selling products in the U.S., which is what led to today's ITC investigation. Companies often file complaints in district court and with the ITC simultaneously as the ITC moves faster and has the ability to block products from being sold in the United States. The looming threat of a product ban can accelerate licensing negotiations.

Should the International Trade Commission's investigation find that Apple infringed on Ericsson's patents, it could potentially lead to an exclusion order preventing the infringing products from being sold in the United States until the dispute is resolved.



Top Rated Comments

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53 months ago
Hardly a patent troll

Lets not forget, from an 'innovation' standpoint, Ericsson are the guys who invented bluetooth back in 1994. Apple seem to run on the mode that forgiveness is better than permission. You gotta pay the piper.
Rating: 19 Votes
53 months ago
so... Apple knows full well that they need to license those but disagree on the amount, but instead of pay up or stop using it, Apple just decide to use the patent anyway without paying.
Rating: 19 Votes
53 months ago
It's not fair to charge Apple a reasonable fee for fair use but it's okay for Apple to charge $10,000 for a watch that's worth between $1,000 to $3,000 at best.
Rating: 18 Votes
53 months ago

Apple's not competing in access points.

And Ericsson sold of their Handset division ages ago. Ericsson is a communications technology company - which means heavy R&D into technology such as LTE and Bluetooth - which is why they have a ton of patents others are required to license.

Ericsson also sells the hardware AT&T, T-Mobile, or whatever carrier you use, purchases in order to provide you with LTE connectivity. You may have an iPhone on your end, but your carrier regularly has Ericsson equipment on their end. Thats the straight opposite of a patent troll.

In short, Ericsson's business model is not to sell you a phone. Its to sell the hardware that even makes it possible to watch HD cat videos on your iPhone.
Rating: 12 Votes
53 months ago

<danger sarcasm>

Has your business model completely fallen to pieces. Well now with trolling you too can solve all your cash flow problem by suing the pants off all your former competitors.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say you have absolutely no idea what's actually going on with this situation.
Rating: 12 Votes
53 months ago

It seems they win those lawsuits. Even the iBooks "price fixing" loss is in the process of getting eviscerated.

Thus, the problem isn't Apple being unfair, it's everyone else trying to exact money the only way they have; by taking doomed potshots in the courts.

If what you're saying we're true, Apple would be losing all three lawsuits, wouldn't they? Or are the international courts also in on the Big Apple Conspiracy?


Fortunately, you can't conflate Apple's other lawsuits with this one. They have no connection. This is a case of Apple not wanting to pay what Ericsson is asking for patents that Apple is using and has paid for in the past.

Trying to tie all of their legal issues together and getting a "if what you're saying is true" gets nothing but a logical fallacy.

I'm pretty sure they will come to an agreement with Apple paying the licensing fees. The only question is how much.
Rating: 11 Votes
53 months ago

<danger sarcasm>
Has your business model completely fallen to pieces. Well now with trolling you too can solve all your cash flow problem by suing the pants off all your former competitors.

How exactly is the worlds biggest seller of LTE access point hardware in shatters?
Rating: 8 Votes
53 months ago

Here's why Apple products cost so much. Lawyers have deep pockets, and Apple has been sued more than any other corporation. They've also won nearly all of them.

If they paid what's fair they wouldn't get sued, Apple doesn't like paying, it loves getting paid.
Rating: 7 Votes
53 months ago

It's not fair to charge Apple a reasonable fee for fair use but it's okay for Apple to charge $10,000 for a watch that's worth between $1,000 to $3,000 at best.


Isn't it worth exactly what people are willing to pay for it?

Unless you're talking about markup, in which case you're somehow privy to parts and manufacturing costs. Probably not the numbers you plucked out of thin air.

And what does Apple Watch procing have to do with fairness?

And how does FRAND have anything to do with Apple Watch pricing?

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If they paid what's fair they wouldn't get sued, Apple doesn't like paying, it loves getting paid.


It seems they win those lawsuits. Even the iBooks "price fixing" loss is in the process of getting eviscerated.

Thus, the problem isn't Apple being unfair, it's everyone else trying to extort money through the courts.

If what you're saying were true, Apple would be losing all three lawsuits, wouldn't they? Or are the international courts also in on the Big Apple Conspiracy?
Rating: 7 Votes
53 months ago

Sometimes I really wish Apple could develop their own wireless technology and blow away everything else. Then boom, make it patent free so it can spread as quickly as possible. It's in their best interest to have Internet everywhere. Imagine ubiquitous and ridiculously fast Internet with no data caps. It's a dream, but until then I'm rooting for pCell.


Sorry - you expect Apple to create that technology AND give it away. A very funny post. I could never see that happening (and when/if it does, I will happily eat my words and you can point me to this thread)

Also, you act as if this is easily done. And that is where some posters (not saying you) have often misunderstood how "easy" Apple had it by coming so late in the game. So much infrastructure and technology had already been created through years of R&D and millions upon millions of dollars that they could leverage.

I'm not saying Apple didn't bring anything to the table. Not at all. However, entering in 2007 saved them a ton of time and money. They have also benefited from NOT having to support legacy phones/technologies that others have (and still do).

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Fortunately, you can't conflate Apple's other lawsuits with this one. They have no connection. This is a case of Apple not wanting to pay what Ericsson is asking for patents that Apple is using and has paid for in the past.

Trying to tie all of their legal issues together and getting a "if what you're saying is true" gets nothing but a logical fallacy.

I'm pretty sure they will come to an agreement with Apple paying the licensing fees. The only question is how much.


I'm also pretty sure he doesn't understand the meaning of extort.

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That's what Samsung did to Apple.


Not exactly. Samsung didn't use FRAND patents. Conversely, Apple did the same to Samsung in terms of FRAND patents. Go figure.
Rating: 7 Votes

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