Ericsson seeks US iPad, iPhone ban as it sues Apple over patents

Last month Apple and Ericsson went to war over the fees Ericsson is trying to charge Apple for the use of its mobile broadband patents. Apple sued Ericsson in an attempt to have the patents declared non-standard-essential (meaning they don’t automatically command royalties) or, if they are found standard-essential, to have Ericsson’s fees declared unreasonably high.

At the time, Ericsson merely went to the Eastern District of Texas district court in search of a judgement saying the patents are indeed essential to 4G standards. Now, however, it’s stepped up its campaign in a big way.

On Thursday Ericsson filed two complaints with the International Trade Commission, asking the ITC to hit Apple’s iPhone and iPads with an exclusion order for “infringing Ericsson patents that are essential to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards.” It also filed multiple complaints with the Eastern District of Texas court, looking for damages and injunctions over the infringement of 41 patents.

These patents cover many things, according to an Ericsson statement:

The patents include standard essential patents related to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards as well as other patents that are critical to features and functionality of Apple devices such as the design of semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system.

According to Ericsson intellectual property chief Kasim Alfahali, the networking technology firm has “acted in good faith to find a fair solution [but] Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the ITC.”

Apple has previously said it had “always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights to standards essential patents covering technology in our products [but had] not been able to agree with Ericsson on a fair rate for their patents” and was therefore asking the courts for help. I’ve sought fresh Apple comment on Ericsson’s suits and will add it in as and when I receive it.

Apple and Ericsson go to court over LTE patents

Thought Apple and Samsung’s truce meant the patent wars were dying down? Think again: now Apple and Ericsson have launched a new legal battle.

After a license agreement for [company]Apple[/company]’s use of [company]Ericsson[/company] cellular technology expired, and two years of negotiations failed, Apple sued Ericsson on Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

The iPhone maker seems to be taking two approaches. On the one hand, according to reports, it’s claiming that Ericsson is wrong to say the relevant LTE patents (covering things like bandwidth efficiency and signal management) are “standards-essential” — something that would mean Apple is automatically infringing by including LTE/4G functionality in its devices. On the other, Apple is saying that if these are standards-essential patents (SEPs), Ericsson is demanding too much because SEPs are supposed to be licensed on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms.

Apple said in its complaint that Ericsson is trying to calculate royalties based on the total phone price, rather than the price of the LTE chip. An Apple spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal:

We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights to standards essential patents covering technology in our products. 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.

Sweden’s Ericsson said on Wednesday that it launched a complaint with the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, asking the court to determine whether the royalties Ericsson wants to levy in its “global license offer” comply with its FRAND commitments.

Here’s what Ericsson chief intellectual property office Kasim Alfalahi said in a statement:

Our goal is to reach a mutually beneficial resolution with Apple. They have been a valued partner for years and we hope to continue that partnership. Global sharing of technology has created the success of the mobile industry and allowed new entrants to quickly build successful businesses. We believe it is reasonable to get fair compensation from companies benefitting from the development we have made over the course of the last 30 years.

Here’s Ericsson’s filing:

Ericsson v Apple

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This article was updated at 3.30am PT to include more detail about Apple’s complaint and again at 5.15am PT to include Ericsson’s filing.