Apple and Ericsson end legal battle over wireless patents

Swedish telecoms firm Ericsson says its legal battle with Apple is over after striking a global licensing agreement covering wireless patents used in the iPhone.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple and Ericsson have struck to a global licensing agreement for wireless patents held by each company covering 2G, 3G and 4G wireless standards.

The pair have been locked in disputes in US and European courts after countersuing each other last January to settle a dispute over how royalties should be calculated. Apple had been paying royalties to Ericsson since 2008 but stopped last year after a previous agreement expired.

The new agreement resolves all pending patent-infringement litigation between the companies, Ericsson said in a statement.

Terms of the new agreement haven't been disclosed, however Ericsson said it will see Apple paying on-going royalties to the Swedish firm during its seven year term. With Apple's payments Ericsson is expecting full year licensing revenues for 2015 to rise to 13-14 billion SEK ($1.5 to $1.6bn), up from 9bn SEK in 2014.

Ericsson last year struck a key cross-licensing agreement with Samsung also covering wireless standard patents, netting the Swedish firm 2.1bn SEK a year between 2013 and 2014.

Apple and Ericsson have also agreed to collaborate on the development of 5G standards as well as wireless network optimisation and video traffic optimisation.

"We are pleased with this new agreement with Apple, which clears the way for both companies to continue to focus on bringing new technology to the global market, and opens up for more joint business opportunities in the future," said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson.

The new agreement ends Ericsson's appeal to the U.S. International Trade Commission for relief and suits it filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It also ends suits Ericsson filed in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

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