Ericsson Sues Apple over Patent Licensing

Ericsson has sued Apple in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas over the use of smartphone technology. According to a press release from Ericsson, the lawsuit follows a lawsuit from Apple against Ericsson in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California which found that it does not infringe a small subset of Ericsson’s patents.

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If you expect this to develop into anything similar to the Apple vs Samsung lawsuits, you may be utterly disappointed. The two lawsuits are the result of a dispute over a licensing agreement. Both parties have been negotiating for two years without reaching an agreement.

In other words, Ericsson was not satisfied with what Apple was offering for the use of the patents. So far so good, but now the position has changed as Ericsson is trying to establish what are Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) principles for such an agreement and Apple is trying to throw out the Ericsson patents alltogether.

In the mobile world, cross-licensing agreements are the norm and disagreements about the terms of licenses even more so. This case will take its course through the courts and while it is very important for Ericsson to establish the validity of its patent portfolio, for Apple it is just a question of profit margin in the mobile device segment. – Norbert Hildebrand