Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has extended its patent lawsuit against Apple to Europe, filing separate lawsuits in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands over alleged patent infringement, Reuters reported Friday.
Ericsson is alleging that Apple has been using its patents without a legitimate license. It unloaded legal barrage against the iPhone maker over the same matter in the United States in February 2015.
The world’s largest maker of wireless networks, Stockholm-based Ericsson owns many patents covering 2G, 3G and 4G LTE cellular technology.
“Apple continues to profit from Ericsson’s technology without having a valid license in place,” Ericsson intellectual property chief Kasim Alfalahi said in a media release.
“Our technology is used in many features and functionality of today’s communication devices. We are confident the courts in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands will be able to help us resolve this matter in a fair manner.”
It should be noted that Apple was paying royalties for Ericsson’s patents related to mobile technologies, but refused to re-sign a global licensing contract with the Swedish company in January 2015.
The Cupertino company said 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 telecommunications giant fired back by filing as many as seven lawsuits against Apple in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and two U.S. International Trade Commission complaints, seeking both damages and injunctions against Apple devices.
Despite the fact that many of the patents involved in these suits are considered standards-essential, this patent royalty spat has been turned into an international incident.
It remains to be seen how Apple responds to mounting pressure and if in fact the company will succeed in convincing courts that Ericsson should license its patents on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
For what it’s worth, analysts estimate that Apple would have to pay Ericsson between 2-6 billion Swedish crowns annually, which works out to approximately $240-$725 million, if it lost the case.