Ericsson sues Apple to clear proposed 5G patent licensing charges

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  • Ericsson asks courtroom for declaratory judgment its proposed charges are honest
  • Complaint accuses Apple of resisting honest licenses, devaluing patents
  • Apple, Ericsson settled earlier licensing dispute in 2015

(Reuters) – Swedish telecom large Ericsson Inc has sued Apple Inc in federal courtroom in Texas looking for a declaration that the charges it supplied Apple to license its 5G wi-fi patents are honest and cheap.

Ericsson accused Apple of utilizing improper ways to decrease the royalty charges it has to pay and refusing to license the patents below something aside from its proposed phrases within the lawsuit filed Monday in Marshall, Texas.

The lawsuit comes as the businesses, which settled a earlier licensing dispute in 2015 amid a California courtroom battle, are deadlocked in negotiations over a brand new license, in keeping with Ericsson.

“For technology leaders like Ericsson, making early and heavy investments in R&D, the possibility for fair compensation through patent licensing is important to ensure new investments in innovation and the continued success of open, collaborative standardization,” Ericsson spokesperson Mikaela Idermark Stern mentioned in an e mail.

Apple did not instantly reply to a request for remark, nor did Ericsson’s lead lawyer Ted Stevenson of Alston & Bird.

Under a world settlement, homeowners of patents masking expertise that’s essential to adjust to a wi-fi commonplace like 5G should supply licenses on honest, cheap, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) phrases. Disputes over FRAND licensing have led to a number of high-profile battles within the telecom trade.

Ericsson mentioned it began licensing its wi-fi patents to Apple when it first launched the iPhone in 2008. Apple sued Ericsson in California in 2015 throughout negotiations for a brand new license, in a case that settled later that 12 months with a second settlement.

Apple had argued within the 2015 case that Ericsson’s patents at concern weren’t important, that it did not infringe them, and that Ericsson’s royalty calls for had been extreme.

Ericsson mentioned in Monday’s lawsuit that it began negotiating a brand new license with Apple in late 2020, and Apple has caught to its place that Ericsson’s charges aren’t FRAND and that the one technique to make them FRAND is to “adhere to Apple’s self-declared methodology.”

According to the grievance, Apple calls for that standard-essential patent homeowners enable it to look at, worth and license each particular person patent in its portfolio at its discretion. Ericsson mentioned Apple requires them to show to the corporate that each patent is crucial, legitimate and infringed.

Cellular patent licensees sometimes comply with overarching international portfolio licenses, Ericsson mentioned.

“Apple knows that it would take hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars and several human lifetimes” to research Ericsson’s 1000’s of patents in “dozens of courts worldwide,” the grievance mentioned. Ericsson known as Apple’s calls for a tactic to make patent homeowners undergo Apple’s decrease charges.

The case is Ericsson Inc v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, No. 2:21-cv-00376.

For Ericsson: Ted Stevenson of Alston & Bird; Nicholas Mathews of McKool Smith; and Christine Woodin of Hueston Hennigan

For Apple: Not out there

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Blake Brittain

Blake Brittain experiences on mental property regulation, together with patents, logos, copyrights and commerce secrets and techniques. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

 Genesis Property/Handout via Reuters.