What you need to know
- Apple is being sued by Ericsson.
- Two lawsuits claim Apple is now using the company's radio patents without permission.
- The companies had a deal dating back to 2015 that has now expired and talks to broker a new one that includes 5G tech appears to have faltered.
Apple is being sued by Ericsson over claims the Cupertino company is using its patents for 2G, 3G, and 4G technology without permission.
In two separate suits filed January 17, Ericsson alleges that Apple is no longer allowed to license Ericsson's patents pertaining to wireless connectivity in devices like the iPhone 13 and its other best iPhones, now that a 2015 deal has expired:
The suit, filed in Texas because Apple has "continuous and systematic business contacts with the State of Texas", seeks a jury trial and a ruling stating that Apple has infringed on the asserted patens and a ruling of damages to compensation. As is often the case with patents considered essential to device functionality (such as the use of 2G, 3G, and 4G on a mobile device), Ericsson doesn't want to stop Apple from using these technologies but is rather seeking compensation. The 2015 deal having expired, Ericsson appears to have sought out a new deal that would include 5G with Apple, however, these talks appear to have fizzled out.
In a statement reported by IAM Ericsson said:
As noted by FOSS Patents Ericsson brought FRAND action against Apple at the end of 2021 after Apple refused to accept a $5/unit licensing offer on the matter, setting up the current dispute.
Speaking to iMore, patent litigation expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents stated "Ericsson v. Apple is the most significant 5G patent spat to date. There's every indication that the parties are far apart on what Apple as the net licensee should pay." Mueller further noted that when the last deal was signed in 2015 various court rulings "favored implementers like Apple", but that in recent years "the pendulum has swung back and the case law is now more favorable to Ericsson."
iMore has reached out to both Ericsson and Apple on the matter.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9
Seems clear. Apple agreed before that the Ericsson patents needed to be licensed, so now sure what changed now.
And that hasn't changed. Party A will offer a dollar, Party B demands 10 dollars, both sides are using every negotiating tactic at their disposal to get the best deal for them -- which includes filing the case in as friendly a court as possible.
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