Ericsson sues Samsung over patents

Dylan Bushell-Embling
28 Nov 2012

In the latest engagement in the global smartphone patent wars, Ericsson has sued Samsung, accusing the vendor of failing to agree to a fair licensing deal for Ericsson wireless patents.

The lawsuit, filed in a Texas court, states that Samsung has not agreed to a licensing deal covering Ericsson's vast trove of patents despite nearly two years of negotiations.

Announcing the move, Ericsson claimed a license Samsung had in place for the use of its patents since 2001 has now expired, but Samsung has refused to agree to a renewed license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Ericsson owns a portfolio of around 30,000 patents, covering technologies including GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, LTE and 802.11. So if it follows the trend with such lawsuits and seeks injunctions, its claims could be far-reaching.

Samsung's own arguments in its US legal battles with Apple, which had partly centered on licensing terms for FRAND patents, could also come into play in the case.

Ericsson Chief Intellectual Property Officer Kasim Alfalahi said the company “has tried long and hard to amicably come to an agreement with Samsung and to sign a license agreement on FRAND terms. We have turned to litigation as a last resort.”

But Samsung is painting a different picture. In a media statement, the company said it had been “faithfully committed... to conducting fair and reasonable negotiations with Ericsson over the past two years, but Ericsson has demanded prohibitively higher royalty rates to renew the same patent portfolio.”

The company vowed to “take all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson's excessive claims.”

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