Sweden’s Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat

Sweden's Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat
Photo: TT
Swedish telecoms group Ericsson announced Friday a lawsuit against US tech giant Apple claiming that its technology was used in iPhones and other wireless devices despite a lapsed licencing agreement.

"Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the ITC (International Trade Commission)," Ericsson's head of intellectual property, Kasim Alfalahi, said in a statement.

"Features that consumers now take for granted — like being able to livestream television shows or access their favourite apps from their phone — rely on the technology we have developed," he added.

Ericsson said it has filed two complaints to the ITC and seven more to a court in Texas after Apple rejected an offer from Ericsson to "have a court determine fair licensing terms."

The Swedish company was also seeking a marketing ban for Apple products that use the patents, which relate to second and fourth generation LTE mobile wireless technology.

Apple in turn had filed a legal complaint in January against Ericsson, claiming the patents were not up to industry standards and that the Swedish group had asked for excessive royalties for them in its licencing renewal offer.

"We've always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights to standard essential patents covering technology in our products," Apple spokeswoman Rachel Wolf told AFP.

"Unfortunately, we have not been able to agree with Ericsson on a fair rate for their patents so, as a last resort, we are asking the courts for help," she said.

Ericsson no longer makes mobile phones but builds equipment for mobile networks, and has more than 35,000 technology patents and 100 patent-licensing agreements worldwide.