​Apple sues Ericsson over LTE patents, Ericsson sues back

Apple and Ericsson are suing each other after failing to agree on royalties the iPhone maker should pay for standard essential patents.

The breakdown of negotiations between Apple and Ericsson over what constitutes a fair price for the Swedish company's LTE patents will now see the pair facing off in two separate courts in the US.

Apple this week sued Ericsson, claiming the company's LTE patents are not essential to wireless industry standards and that the Swedish company has been demanding excessive royalties for their use.

Apple claims Ericsson wants royalties for its LTE patents that are a percentage of the price of the smartphone or tablet that makes use of them, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Apple says in its suit that royalties should be confined to the value of the chip where tech using the patent is featured.

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Apple has asked the court to set a reasonable royalty rate if it finds that Ericsson's patents are indeed standards-essential and that Apple has infringed them.

Apple's suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday.

Ericsson on Wednesday filed its own complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The court is known to be a favoured location for patent suits, however the area is also home to Ericsson's US headquarters.

The company has asked the court to decide whether its global licensing offer to Apple for the use of its standard essential patents is based on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Apple has paid royalties to Ericsson since 2008 for the disputed patents, Reuters reported.

Ericsson says its global licensing agreement with Apple has now expired and that, following two years of negotiations, Apple has declined to take a new license on the FRAND terms it offered.

Ericsson noted that payments from Apple under the former agreement will appear in its fourth quarter 2014 intellectual property revenue.

"Our goal is to reach a mutually beneficial resolution with Apple. They have been a valued partner for years and we hope to continue that partnership," Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, said.

"We believe it is reasonable to get fair compensation from companies benefitting from the development we have made over the course of the last 30 years."

Ericsson was one of five companies along with Apple and Microsoft that backed the Rockstar consortium, which outbid Google for over 6,000 Nortel patents in 2011. Last month Rockstar recently sold 4,000 of them to RPX Corp for $900m, however the group is believed to have retained the highest value patents, Reuters reported.

The Swedish company has also licensed thousands of patents and patent applications to non-practising entity Unwired Planet, a company that had filed suits against Apple, BlackBerry and Google.

Read more on Ericsson

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