Ericsson sues Apple over patents

Apple just lost a $533 million patent case to Smartflash this week, and now Ericsson is likewise suing the company in a patent dispute.

Charlie Osborne Contributing Writer
Charlie Osborne is a cybersecurity journalist and photographer who writes for ZDNet and CNET from London. PGP Key: AF40821B.
Charlie Osborne
2 min read


Ericsson is suing Apple over "critical functions" in its devices.

The legal actions, announced Friday, relate to Ericsson-owned patents. The company has filed two complaints with the US International Trade Commission and filed seven lawsuits in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against the iPad and iPhone maker, alleging that 41 patents in total are being infringed on.

Ericsson has also asked the trade commission to block Apple products in the US market.

The patents in question include technology related to 2G and 4G/LTE standards, semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system itself.

Ericsson claims that Apple's global licensing agreement for Ericsson's patents expired last month and that Apple "declined" to take a new license based on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms -- known in the industry as FRAND. The company says several attempts were made to reach a solution with Apple, including "an offer for both parties to be bound by a decision on fair licensing terms by a United States federal court." However, Apple allegedly refused.

"By refusing Ericsson's fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation," Ericsson said.

Ericsson's portfolio includes approximately 35,000 patents, and the company has inked roughly 100 deals with industry players to date.

"Apple's products benefit from the technology invented and patented by Ericsson's engineers. Features that consumers now take for granted -- like being able to livestream television shows or access their favorite apps from their phone -- rely on the technology we have developed," Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson said in a statement. "We are committed to sharing our innovations and have acted in good faith to find a fair solution. Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the ITC."

In related news, this week Apple was ordered to pay $533 million in damages to Smartflash after being found guilty of willfully infringing on patents licensed by the company. While Apple plans to appeal the ruling, Smartflash isn't finished yet -- and has already filed a new lawsuit against the iPad and iPhone maker. Smartflash's new case is based upon the same disputed patents -- relating to the access and storage of data, digital rights management and payment systems -- but for devices not included in the original lawsuit, such as the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story was originally published as "Ericsson joins the queue to sue Apple for patent infringement" on ZDNet.