Ericsson has filed a new set of patent infringement lawsuits against tech giant Apple, over royalty payment for the use of 5G wireless patents in Apple products.
This comes months after both companies sued each other in the US, as negotiations failed over the renewal of a seven-year licensing contract for telecoms patents first struck in 2015.
Ericsson filed a suit in October claiming that Apple was trying to improperly cut down the royalty rates. The Swedish company was seeking a judgement favouring it’s proposed licensing rates as fair under “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” licensing (FRAND) guidelines. Apple fought back with its own suit in December accusing Ericsson of using “strong-arm tactics” to renew patents.
“Ericsson has refused to negotiate fair terms for renewing our patent licensing agreement, and instead has been suing Apple around the world to extort excessive royalties … we are asking the court to help determine a fair price,” an Apple spokesman told Reuters.
Ericsson is seeking FRAND licensing rates for 5G patents such as its 5G headset. The Swedish company has a portfolio of more than 57,000 patents and gets a third of its operating profit from patent royalties.
“Since the prior agreement has expired and we have been unable to reach agreement on the terms and scope of a new licence, Apple is now using our technology without a licence,” an Ericsson spokesman told Reuters.
Patent lawsuits are quite common among technology companies due to the amount that can be earned over the duration of agreements. Last year Ericsson settled patent lawsuits with Samsung after several months in court.
Ericsson wants $5 per iPhone while Apple believes it should pay less since its market share is greater now than it was in 2015, RCR Wireless reported.
In November, a number of big tech companies including Apple and Google lost a court challenge against over a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office policy that reduced the number of patent disputes it considers.
Apple has a website statement on licensing that says “everyone stands to benefit” when standard patents are licensed under FRAND terms.
“On the other hand, when companies use the market power of a standard and standard essential patents to demand unfair, unreasonable, or discriminatory terms, consumers are harmed and fewer choices are available,” the statement adds.
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