Apple and Ericsson Settle Litigation With Global Patent License Agreement

ipad_iphone_ios_8Ericsson announced today that it has reached a seven-year global patent cross licensing agreement with Apple for standard-essential technologies, including GSM, UMTS and LTE cellular standards, thereby settling all litigation between the two technology companies.

Apple will make an upfront payment to Ericsson and continue paying royalties on an ongoing basis. The terms of the agreement are confidential, but investment bank ABG Sundal Collier believes Apple could be charged around 0.5% of iPhone and iPad revenue, per Reuters.

The licensing agreement applies to several technology areas, including 5G development, video network traffic management and wireless network optimization, and grants certain other undisclosed patent rights. The deal ends all litigation before the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. District Courts and European courts.

"We are pleased with this new agreement with Apple, which clears the way for both companies to continue to focus on bringing new technology to the global market, and opens up for more joint business opportunities in the future," said Kasim Alfalahi, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson.

Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson in January 2015, 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 to $750 million in annual royalties for Apple to continue licensing its patented wireless technologies. Apple declined to honor those demands.

Ericsson subsequently sued Apple again in February 2015 for allegedly infringing 41 wireless-related patents that it believed to be critical to the functionality of products such as the iPhone and iPad. At the time, Ericsson filed two complaints with the U.S. ITC in an effort to secure a U.S. sales ban on infringing products, in addition to filing seven complaints with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

The U.S. ITC agreed to launch an investigation into the Apple-Ericsson patent infringement claims in March 2015, and Ericsson extended the lawsuit to Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in May 2015, but today's agreement precedes any courtroom rulings.

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. Ericsson's cellular technology patents are considered essential and are subject to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).

Apple's previous licensing deal with Ericsson signed in 2008 expired in January 2015.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
62 months ago
Come on, let's be FRANDS
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago

It was always a question of how much to pay. If Erricson jumped its demands by 300% from the 2008 agreements, I could see App,e going: "Whoa buddy. WTF?"

According to court filings, Ericsson was offering Apple comparable terms to what everyone else pays.

If I remember correctly, Ericsson was demanding 3.5 - 5% of iOS revenue. If the story is correct, Apple got off royally if they're indeed only paying .5%. Still a lot of money.

It was only 1.5%, but (as I've pointed out here for years), such higher base rates are for deals without cross licensing.

Apple has always wanted to get lower rates without cross licensing. While that's an understandable business desire, it probably wouldn't sound fair to a jury that a company... which profits so much more than others... also wants to pay less than others for using the same technology.

So it likely was the threat of a Texas jury trial that made Apple's lawyers settle ahead of time. Same thing happened back when Nokia filed for a jury trial in Delaware. Not that it's a surprise. It was widely assumed Apple would have to cut a deal.

Plus, cross licensing helps everyone. It cuts down on royalties, and it cuts down on lawsuits. Apple is maturing in the phone maker business.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago
Pay up Apple, you can afford it.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago

Good to see this one end.

Finally. It took way too long for this conclusion.

I'd say... seven years it a bit long...

It brings me joy that our Apple stops being a pirate.

Please read the article a little closer. Apple and Erricson had an agreement in place since 2008 that expired in January of this year. The two were at odds over what the terms for renewal would be. So since they couldn't come to agreement in conference rooms they escalated things a bit. That's all. A few months for something like this to play out is not "a long time."

This was just a business negotiation that became contentious. Nothing more. Similar to when you see a broadcaster's programming temporarily removed from a cable or satellite provider's network over a royalty dispute. This happens so that one can use the pressure and embarrassment of news coverage and subscriber complaints to pressure an agreement on the other. Since there is no immediate remedy to a patent dispute (patent holders generally can't unilaterally "remove" their technology from the patent user's product) they resort to the pressure of a lawsuit.

There are patent trolls out there, but Erricson isn't one of them. Just a business trying to use their assets to maximize their profits. There are pirates out there, but Apple isn't one of them. Just a business trying to minimize the costs of producing a product that generates their profit, and keep/increase competitive advantage.

There was no drama. It was just business. Move along. There's nothing to see here.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago
Good to see this finally coming to a closure.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago

Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson in January 2015, arguing that it was demanding excessive royalties for patents not essential to LTE standards.

Can you please check this sentence? It doesn't make sense. For non-essential patents, there is no reason why Ericsson can't charge any amount they like, because they are not essential, which means Apple has the free choice of using them or not using them. If Ericcson demanded excessive royalties for patents _essential to LTE standards_, that's something that Apple could complain about.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Spotify Says Apple One Bundle Will Cause 'Irreparable Harm to Developer Community'

Tuesday September 15, 2020 12:26 pm PDT by
Apple today announced Apple One, a series of new subscription bundles that provide access to various Apple services at a combined monthly price. In response, Spotify sent out statements (via Peter Kafka) to the press decrying Apple's anti-competitive behavior and calling on "competition authorities" to stop Apple before it is able to cause "irreparable harm" to developers.Once again, Apple...

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 Will Be Released September 16

Tuesday September 15, 2020 11:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 will be officially released on Wednesday, September 16. Apple has seeded the final Golden Master beta versions of each update to developers in advance. ‌iOS 14‌ and iPadOS 14 introduce dozens of new features, including a redesigned Home Screen that supports widgets on the iPhone and iPad for the first time. For more...

New AirPods Pro Firmware Introduces Spatial Audio Support and Automatic Switching

Monday September 14, 2020 12:22 pm PDT by
The new 3A283 firmware that Apple released for the AirPods Pro today appears to introduce support for Spatial Audio, a new feature coming to the higher-end AirPods with iOS 14. Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums indicate that the firmware update adds a "Spatial Audio" option to the Control Center, which can be activated to enable the feature. Note that using Spatial Audio...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Full Transcript of Apple's 'Time Flies' Event With Apple Watch and iPad Updates

Tuesday September 15, 2020 8:46 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Time Flies" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut new Apple Watch and iPad models, but it appears we may not see the iPhone 12 until next month. While we're not expecting to see new iPhones today, Apple's software updates for its various platforms are likely nearly ready for launch, so we may be hearing more about them today. Check...

Everything Apple Announced at Today's iPad and Apple Watch Event in Just Seven Minutes

Tuesday September 15, 2020 2:19 pm PDT by
Apple today held its annual September event, but this year was a bit different because no new iPhones were announced. The "Time Flies" event focused on the Apple Watch Series 6 and the iPad Air, and saw the debut of a new Apple One services bundle. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce the new devices, but we've recapped the event in...