Ericsson Sues Apple for Patent Infringement after Breakdown in Negotiations

After failing to reach an agreement with Apple, Ericsson has decided to ask for the court’s help in determining the licensing terms of its patents, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Swedish company has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alongside two ITC complaints, over 41 separate patents covering wireless standards and technology.

“Our last offer was to have this determination either in [a federal court in] Texas or in a court selected by Apple in California. They declined,” said Gustav Brismark, head of patent strategy at Ericsson.

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What’s interesting, though, is that Ericsson wants the ITC (US International Trade Commission) to block iPhone sales in the US market, according to Bloomberg. The Wall Street Journal, by the way, doesn’t mention this in their report. This would be a major hit for Apple, since it currently dominates smartphone sales in the US.

The legal debate started some while ago: Back in January, Ericsson threatened Apple, and vice versa, with a lawsuit over the same patents, because the two couldn’t reach a licensing agreement. According to Ericsson, Apple has declined to make a deal and even refused “an offer to have the court determine fair licensing terms”.

Wireless standard licensing terms became a topic of discussion between the two companies when the licensing agreement they struck in 2008 expired in January 2015.

When contacted for a comment, Apple referred to their January statement, which says the company has “always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights to standards essential patents covering technology in our products. Unfortunately, we have not been able to agree with Ericsson on a fair rate for their patents so, as a last resort, we are asking the courts for help”.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will countersue Ericsson.