Ericsson is suing tech giant Apple over patent licensing. Ericsson has filed suit both with the International Trade Commission (ITC) as well as the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Ericsson is claiming that Apple has violated 41 patents that apply to two of its prominent mobile devices, the iPhone and the iPad. Not only do these include patents that are related to 2G and LTE technology, but also non-standard ones that involve software and component hardware design.
With regards to the suit it filed with the ITC, Ericsson is seeking orders or junctions. In other words, the company wants the sale of Apple's devices halted, at least until their patent complaint is resolved. Basically, by filing a suit with the ITC, Ericsson is trying to recoup damages from Apple.
The crux of the lawsuit really lies on the terms and conditions of licensing. Ericsson's patents operate based on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. This means that the company can offer its patents to other companies as long as it there is nothing unfair or fraudulent is going on. Ericsson and Apple had a global licensing agreement that ended in January of this year. Another offer was put forth, again based on FRAND terms (or so Ericsson believes), but this time it was rejected. Ericsson tried to resolve the dispute via a US Federal court ruling, but Apple declined. Ericsson had no choice but to take legal action.
As of now, Ericsson is one of the companies in the world that holds the most number of standards essential patents, with more than 35,000 patents in its current portfolio. It would not be easy to find a wireless company nowadays that does not have a licensing agreement with Ericsson. As for Apple, it appears that the tech giant just wants better licensing terms than what Ericsson was offering.
The past few days have seen Apple dealing with more than one legal matter. As a matter of fact, just this week, the tech giant was ordered to pay damages in the amount of $533 million to Smartflash, after being ruled guilty of deliberately infringing on patents licensed by Smartflash. And it does not end there. While Apple is preparing to appeal the decision, Smartflash has already filed another lawsuit. This time, the company is suing Apple for the same disputed patents, but for mobile devices that were not included in the previous lawsuit, like the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPad Air 2.
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