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February 27, 2015

Ericsson and Apple quarrel in patent dispute

Following license deal expiry the two firms are yet to agree IP deal.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Ericsson has accused Apple’s iPad and iPhone of patent infringement following the expiration of a licensing deal between the pair.

The communications company has claimed that the mobile communications, user interface and iOS operating system encroach upon its intellectual property, and will seek an exclusion order at the International Trade Commission (ITC), and damages and injunctions in a US district court in Texas.

Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, said: "Apple’s products benefit from the technology invented and patented by Ericsson’s engineers.

"Features that consumers now take for granted – like being able to livestream television shows or access their favourite apps from their phone – rely on the technology we have developed.

"We are committed to sharing our innovations and have acted in good faith to find a fair solution. Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the ITC."

The case follows the expiration of Apple’s global license for Ericsson’s mobile technology last month, which precipitated suits from both companies disputing aspects of the other’s position.

Ericsson argued that its global licensing offer, which was made again to Apple once the previous deal had expired, constitutes fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. However Apple’s suit claimed that it did not infringe on a subset of Ericsson’s patents.

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The series of suits comes only days after Apple was forced to pay $530m (£345m) to the storage firm Smartflash for violating three of its patents.

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