Apple and Ericsson in costly patent war

Anthony Caruana
11 May, 2015
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Ericsson has expanded its legal action against Apple over the use of wireless communications parents from the US to Europe and are seeking up to US$ billion per year in compensation.

The parents in question concern the use of 2G and LTE communications in the iPhone and iPad.

Ericsson initiated its actions in January 2015 in several European Union countries. Before that time, Apple was using the technology under licence, but Ericsson alleges that after two years of negotiations for renewal of licences the two behemoths couldn’t agree on terms.

Sources suggest the way the licence fee is calculated is the main issue. Apple wants to lay the fee based on the cost of components that use Ericsson’s technology, whereas Ericsson wants the fee calculated based in the final cost of a complete iPhone or iPad.

However, Ericsson claims that even that action excludes most of the 41 patents that it asserts all iPhones and cellular capable iPads use. In an official statement, Ericsson says, “Apple does not currently have any licence for Ericsson’s technology, but continues to sell products, for which its licences have expired, on a global scale.”

Both companies have launched counter legal strikes.

Apple sought a ruling in the US District Court for the Northern District of California stating it didn’t infringe on a number of Ericsson’s patents. Ericsson countered by filing a complaint in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas asking for a determination that its essential patent portfolio to Apple is fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. They also went to the US International Trade Commission seeking exclusion orders and back to the in District Court for the Eastern District of Texas seeking damages and injunctions for parent infringement.

There’s no official word on how much money Ericsson is seeking, but figures between US$250 million and US$1 billion have been touted.


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