Ericsson joins the queue to sue Apple for patent infringement

No doubt Apple is still smarting over a $533 million court case won by Smartflash this week, but Ericsson is now also suing the company in a patent dispute.


Ericsson is suing Apple for patent infringement relating to the "critical functions" of Apple devices.

The lawsuit, announced on Friday, relates to Ericsson-owned patents. The firm has filed two complaints with with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and seven complaints in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against the iPad and iPhone maker, alleging that 41 patents in total are being infringed upon.

The patents in question range from technology related to 2G and 4G/LTE standards, semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system itself.

The Swedish company has also filed a second ITC complaint requesting an exclusion order in the US, as well as damages and various injunctions.

Ericsson claims Apple's global licensing agreement for Ericsson's patents expired last month, and the tech giant "declined" to take a new license based on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). The company says several attempts were made to reach a solution with Apple, including "an offer for both parties to be bound by a decision on fair licensing terms by a United States federal court." However, Apple allegedly refused.

"By refusing Ericsson's fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation," the company says.

Ericsson's portfolio includes approximately 35,000 patents, and the company has inked roughly 100 deals with industry players to date.

Kasim Alfalahi, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson said:

"Apple's products benefit from the technology invented and patented by Ericsson's engineers. Features that consumers now take for granted - like being able to livestream television shows or access their favorite apps from their phone -- rely on the technology we have developed.

We are committed to sharing our innovations and have acted in good faith to find a fair solution. Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the ITC."

In related news, this week Apple was ordered to pay $533 million in damages to Smartflash after being found guilty of wilfully infringing upon patents licensed by the company. While Apple plans to appeal the ruling, Smartflash isn't finished yet -- and has immediately filed a new lawsuit against the iPad and iPhone maker. Smartflash's new case is based upon the same disputed patents -- relating to the access and storage of data, digital rights management (DRM) and payment systems -- but for devices not included in the original lawsuit, such as the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2.

See also: $533 million not enough? Smartflash files new patent lawsuit against Apple

ZDNet has reached out to Apple and will update if we hear back.

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