Ericsson and Apple seem to have to meet frequently in courtrooms over the next few months. If last December it was the Cupertino company that sued Ericsson, guilty of having used “hard ways” to essential patent licenses, today the parties are reversed and it is now the Swedish multinational that has filed a counter-suit, both regarding the statements made by Apple, and as it is allegedly using its patents for 2G, 3G and 4G technology without authorization.
In two separate cases, filed in the past few hours, Ericsson argues that Apple is no longer licensed to license its patents, 12 in total, related to wireless connectivity in devices like the iPhone 13 and other iPhones since the 2015 deal expired.
The lawsuit was filed by Ericsson in Texas, where Apple has “continuous and systematic business contacts”, and requires a jury trial to ascertain these violations with consequent and reasonable compensation for damages.
The legal disputes between the two companies have already been going on for years. It had already happened in 2015 that the Cupertino company had brought Ericsson to court accusing her of demanding excessive rights for the license to use patents on LTE wireless connectivity. At the time, it all ended in a deal that, according to Apple, was achieved using these so-called “hard ways”.
This agreement relating to the 2G, 3G and 4G standards has now expired and the parties would have met to renew it by also adding the 5G standard. The meetings, however, have not yet led to an agreement.
Once the licenses have expired, therefore, Apple would no longer have the right to use these essential patents but as often happens with this type of patents, considered essential for the functionality of a device, Ericsson does not want to prevent Apple from using them but rather tries to obtain a compensation.
According to reports from FOSS Patents, Ericsson would have handed a license on FRAND terms to Apple at the end of 2021 after it had refused to accept a license offer of 5 dollars per unit. From this refusal, Ericsson would then have decided to choose the legal path.