Apple counter-sues Ericsson over 5G licensing negotiations

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sony Ericsson AB accusing the company of using “strong-arm tactics” during negotiations over 5G network licensing. Since 2015, both companies are in an agreement to cover 2G, 3G, and 4G technology but that agreement is going to expire this month. 


In October, Ericsson sued Apple at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to accelerate the 5G licensing negotiations. Ericsson is seeking a declaratory judgment that fulfills the Europen Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) requirements and can deal un FRAND (fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory) terms. Apple accused it of violating FRAND terms and conditions and demanding high 5G royalty rates. 

Apple and Sony Ericsson resort to 2015 practices to reach an agreement over 5G licensing 

In 2015, Apple and Ericsson settled their dispute over cellular network patent royalties, only after a series of lawsuits from both sides and Ericsson seeking to get iPhone sales banned in the U.S. Under the new seven years agreement, the Cupertino tech giant agreed to pay a small amount of iPhone and iPad revenue to Ericsson.


Now, both companies are back to similar tactics to resolve the 5G licensing issue. Apple alleges that Ericsson is charging a higher rate and Ericsson accuses the Cupertino tech giant of negotiating in “bad faith”.

Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit accusing Ericsson AB of using “strong-arm tactics” in negotiations to renew a 2015 license for technology critical to industrywide telecommunications standards, particularly for 5G mobile networks.

The lawsuit, filed late Friday in federal court in Texas, alleges Ericsson is violating its obligations to license patents essential to industry standards on fair rates and is making unreasonable demands. Ericsson sued in the same court in October accusing Apple of negotiating in “bad faith.”

The 2015 agreement, which covered 2G, 3G and 4G technology and expires this month, was signed only after protracted litigation, and the dueling …- Bloomberg Law

In 2020, Apple launched its first iPhone 12 series with 5G network support and it was a massive hit. Later the company introduced the advanced network tech in iPad Pro and iPad mini models and it will only expand it to future products. Therefore, all the trouble to get a favorable rate over 5G patent royalties seems worth the effort for Apple. 

Apple 5G Modem

It is also reported that Huawei will also be charging Apple and Samsung royalties for its 5G patents which will provide it a new revenue stream for its wireless technology innovations. After the Chinese manufacturer was blocked from the U.S and a few other markets, its revenue was impacted. Thus, the alleged licensing deal with giants might help it maintain a steady revenue.

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Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.