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Ericsson takes Samsung to court over patent dispute

Jennifer Scott

Ericsson is suing Samsung for patent infringement, despite negotiating over the use of the inventions for almost two years.

The two mobile firms entered into an agreement in 2001 allowing Samsung to license the use of 24 of Ericsson’s patented technologies within its own mobile devices. This license agreement was renewed in 2007.

However, when it expired, Samsung did not want to pay the amount set out by Ericsson and the two firms headed into negotiations over the technology imperative to the inner workings of Samsung handsets.

Ericsson insists it is offering the licences on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND),” with chief intellectual property officer, Kasim Alfalahi, adding: “Ericsson has tried long and hard to amicably come to an agreement with Samsung and sign a license agreement on FRAND terms. We have turned to litigation as a last resort.”

In the filing, the company also claimed Samsung "had a history of manipulating its position on the amount of a FRAND rate" depending which side of the deal it is on. 

However, Samsung claimed the royalties for the licences were “prohibitively higher” and said it would take “all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson's excessive claims."

As one of the earliest players in mobile technology and networking, Ericsson has built up a large portfolio of over 30,000 patents. It regularly licenses the technology to other mobile manufacturers, but gave up on building its own devices when it sold its half of the Sony Ericsson partnership to Sony for just over €1bn in 2011.

Samsung is already embroiled in a number of patent suits in different countries with rival firm Apple, having lost the case in the US with a bill for $1bn in damages. 

However, it managed to defeat the Cupertino firm’s patent infringement claims in the UK courts and Apple was forced to publish an apology for the accusations on its UK website.

Despite Ericsson being a Swedish firm and Samsung hailing from South Korea, the case has been filed at the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, where Ericsson’s US headquarters is based.

The 24 patents in this dispute include uplink scrambling during random access, minimising feedback responses in ARQ protocols and mobile station measurements with event-based reporting.  


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