Ericsson intensifies legal pressure on Apple over patents, seeks iPhone sales ban

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Following a $533 million loss in a lawsuit a small Texas-based company leveled against it over patent violation, Apple is now facing new legal challenges.

Friday, the Swedish telecommunications giant has unloaded legal barrage against the iPhone maker.

The move follows Apple’s refusal to re-sign a global licensing contract with Ericsson in mid-January. Bloomberg noted that Apple had been paying royalties for Ericsson’s patents related to mobile technologies, but the global license agreement expired last month and hasn’t been renewed since.

After filing seven lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and two U.S. International Trade Commission complaints, Ericsson is now seeking both damages and injunctions against Apple devices.

“Together, the complaints accuse Apple of infringing as many as 41 patents for some of the fundamental ways mobile devices communicate and for related technology such as user interfaces, battery saving and the operating system,” Bloomberg reports.

Re/code adds that Ericsson could earn between $250 million and $750 million per year from Apple assuming royalty payment on a per-device basis.

The world’s largest maker of wireless networks, Stockholm-based Ericsson owns many patents covering 2G, 3G and 4G LTE cellular network technology.

“We have offered them a license, they have turned it down,” said Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson’s chief intellectual property officer. “We’re not a company that’s planning to extract more than the value we put on the table.”

Apple said Ericsson “seeks to exploit its patents to take the value of these cutting-edge Apple innovations” and accused the company of “abusive licensing practices.”

The iPhone maker had been paying royalties to Ericsson before a license expired in mid-January. The Cupertino firm was apparently concerned that Ericsson was charging excessive royalty rates for its patents related to 4G LTE cellular technology and argued Ericsson’s patent portfolio should be deemed non-essential.

The Swedish firm responded by arguing that it offered Apple to re-sign the new license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Apple actually filed a lawsuit against Ericsson last month, alleging charging excessive royalty rates for 4G LTE technology.

Ericsson fired back soon after, filing a complaint against Apple in Texas. The two firms are now seeking court rulings on whether Ericsson’s royalty demands on fundamental technology were fair and reasonable.

Source: Bloomberg