The dispute between the two telecoms companies centres on patents for mobile phone technology. Ericsson has had a licencing agreement with the Samsung which gives the South Korean company the right to use fifteen different Ericsson patents in three technology areas.
Primarily the patents relate to GSM technology, but also GPRS and EDGE.
The lawsuit has been filed in four countries – the USA, Germany, the UK and Holland.
Ericsson’s agreement with Samsung expired at the end of last year and the companies have not managed to sign a new contract.
“For a long while we’ve had negotiations with Samsung about renewing their licence agreement with us. And our view is that we’re not getting anywhere with the discussions so now we have taken the step to sue them,” said Åse Lindskog, press officer at Ericsson.
“We ploughed a lot of money over the years into developing GSM, EDGE and GPRS technologies. And it’s normal in the industry that you pay for using others’ patents. It’s very unusual to do what Samsung are doing, continuing without an agreement,” she said.
Lindskog did not reveal how much Ericsson is demanding or what the absence of the agreement is costing Ericsson.
Samsung Sweden said that the company does not comment on ongoing legal actions. Samsung is the world’s third largest mobile phone producer and sold around 100 million handsets in 2005.