Ericsson has filed a suit against Samsung for patent infringement.
The Swedish telecommunications equipment maker said today that it launched the lawsuit after the two companies were unable to reach an agreement about renewing patent licensing deals.
Samsung previously licensed Ericsson's patents in 2001 and renewed terms in 2007, but licenses have now expired. According to Ericsson, Samsung refused to renew the licensing agreements for its patents on FRAND terms. FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms are used by industry groups to set standards for technology and products, and are aimed at encouraging competitiveness without allowing rights holders to abuse their position, and create a setting for patent holders to receive royalties.
No licensing deal was forthcoming "despite two years of negotiations", Ericsson said in a statement, so the company decided it "must take action to support a crucial system for technology sharing that has helped create today's mass market communications industry." Consequently, Ericsson decided to take legal action, filing a complaint in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
The dispute between the two companies involves patents owned by Ericsson that it says are "essential" to several telecommunications and networking standards used in a number of Samsung's products. In addition, Ericsson says that other patented inventions, frequently used in wireless and consumer products, are involved in the dispute.
To date, the telecom network equipment maker has signed over 100 licensing agreements with other firms in the industry. The Swedish firm currently owns over 30,000 patents worldwide.
"By the end of 2012 there will be approximately 6.6 billion mobile subscriptions in the world. The sharing of technology in the telecom industry is one of the main drivers behind this development. The telecom ecosystem builds on fair and reasonable terms that have created an attractive global mass market for mobility and broadband with Ericsson as a main contributor," Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, said.