What you need to know
- Apple vs Ericsson is continuing to escalate.
- Apple has hit back at the Swedish company with another lawsuit, this time filed in Mannheim, Germany.
- The companies have fallen out over the licensing and use of patents pertaining to wireless mobile technology.
In the latest turn in the ongoing Apple vs Ericsson saga, Apple appears to have filed a second countersuit against Ericsson, this time in Germany.
As reported by Juve Patent:
On 24 January 2022, the Mannheim Regional Court confirmed a lawsuit filed by Apple against Ericsson (2 O 9/22) concerning the infringement of EP 29 45 332. It protects an apparatus and methods for network resource allocation.
Currently, JUVE Patent is unaware whether Apple will file further patents against Ericsson in Germany.
The report says it is "likely" the suit was filed in the last two weeks, indicating "that both the iPhone manufacturer and Ericsson extended their patent dispute to Europe from the US at almost the same time." The report also notes that more suits are likely to come to light in the coming days as more are added to court registers and served on the defendants.
At the weekend it emerged that Ericsson was seeking preliminary injunctions against Apple in Brazil and the Netherlands, meanwhile, Apple has filed its own complaint against Ericsson with the International Trade Commission seeking an import ban on Ericsson's mobile base stations in the United States because the products infringe on patents held by Apple.
Analysis - why are they fighting?
Apple and Ericsson's dispute dates back to October, where Ericsson brought a complaint against Apple in Texas, a favor returned by Apple in the same district in December. The pair had a patent licensing agreement dating back to 2015, which allowed Apple to use patents held by Ericsson in devices like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, as well as its other best iPhones over the last few years.
The patents held by Ericsson relate to 2G, 3G, and 4G and as such are pretty essential to the functionality of the iPhone. Ericsson reportedly sought a new deal with Apple that would include licensing of 5G technology, however, no agreement could be reached. Ericsson had sought a licensing offer of $5/unit from Apple.
As noted, Apple has responded to Ericsson's filings with its own series of counterclaims in the various districts but has stated that it is willing to drop its legal actions if Ericsson does the same. In a statement last week Ericsson said:
We can confirm that Ericsson has filed a number of lawsuits against Apple for patent infringement in multiple jurisdictions. Since the prior agreement has expired, and we have been unable to reach agreement on the terms and scope of a new license, Apple is now using our technology without a license.
Patent litigation expert Florian Mueller told iMore at the time that this was "the most significant 5G patent spate to date" and that there was a clear indication that parties were far apart on how much Apple should pay.