Apple and Ericsson’s agreement for the Cupertino tech giant to use its patents for 2G, 3G, and 4G technology expired in December 2021. Now, Apple is being sued for continuing to use the Swedish company’s 5G patents in the iPhone after its seven-year license agreement expired.
Ericsson files two lawsuits against Apple covering the infringement of 12 5G patents
Ericsson has filed two lawsuits that cover a total of 12 separate patents. The suits come after negotiations between the two companies failed to conclude before Apple’s licensing deal expired.
As reported by IAM, the lawsuits were filed in the Western District of Texas and in one unknown jurisdiction outside the US. The first suit covers four patents and the remaining eight are detailed in the second filing.
Apple is the largest smartphone manufacturer in the United States and requires a license to Ericsson’s Essential Patents. Apple first licensed Ericsson’s 2G and 3G Essential Patents in 2008 when it released the first iPhone. In 2015, Apple and Ericsson executed another global cross-license, covering both parties’ patents related to the 2G, 3G, and 4G cellular standards. Based on the expiration of those licenses, Apple is no longer licensed to Ericsson’s Essential Patents.
The cases could not have been brought to court until the licensing agreement expired but they are not the first suits Apple or Ericsson have filed against each other. In October 2021, Ericsson sued Apple at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to accelerate the 5G licensing negotiations. In turn. Apple in December 2021, filed a lawsuit against Ericsson accusing the company of using “strong-arm tactics” during negotiations over 5G network licensing.
In a statement, the Swedish company said:
We can confirm that Ericsson has filed a number of lawsuits against Apple for patent infringement in multiple jurisdictions. Since the prior agreement has expired, and we have been unable to reach agreement on the terms and scope of a new license, Apple is now using our technology without a license.
Ericsson’s annual investments in R&D of $5 billion have led to our leading global position in 5G, and a leading 5G patent portfolio. The possibility for fair compensation through patent licensing is important to ensure new investments in innovation that benefit our customers and consumers everywhere.
Apple has not commented on the matter as of yet.