Tech giants Ericsson and Apple are deep in battle for licensing rights in the United States, with the former filing seven lawsuits alleging infringements of a mind boggling 41 mobile communication and technology related patents.
Ericsson has gone so far as to involve the US International Trade Commission in a bid to block Apple's products from US markets.
The lawsuits are a result of failed interactions between Ericsson and Apple since January when the previous licenses expired. Apple had been paying royalties for patents owned by Ericsson previously, and now contends that the royalties charged by the latter are far from being fair and reasonable, a stand that led to further licensing agreements getting stalled.
The alleged infringements include ways mobile devices communicate and also technological parametres like interfaces, operating system and the battery saving feature.
Kasim Alfalahi, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson, said, “We have offered them a license; they have a turned it down. We’re not a company that’s planning to extract more than the value we put on the table.”
Alfalahi also claimed that its offer of indulging an arbitrator to settle proper rates were turned down by the Cupertino giant.
Apple has refused to go down without a fight, stating that Ericsson has been indulging in 'abusive licensing practices' and “seeks to exploit its patents to take the value of these cutting-edge Apple innovations.”
Apple has even approached courts, regulators and the Wifi regulating board to get royalty rates corrected in order to renew licensing deals at fair rates. In January, it sued Ericsson over excessive royalty rates being charged for the LTE wiress technology.
If Ericsson's complaint is taken seriously by the US International Trade Commission, Apple's products that are manufactured in Asia could be stopped from entering American shores.
Given that the Trade Commission is prone to quick decisions, we should hear about the verdict on this soon. Apple has already announced its next launch event on March 9th, and a unfavourable verdict could make matters worse in the blink of an eye.