Ericsson Sues Samsung Over Mobile Patents
Ericsson has sued Samsung after the latter refused to renew a patent-licensing agreement. Samsung calls Ericsson's new terms "excessive."Ericsson, the latest company to join the patent finger-pointing fracas that's become the norm in the fast-growing smartphone industry, filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung in a U.S. District Court in Texas. Samsung signed licensing agreements for the use of Ericsson patents in 2001 and 2007, but the latter has expired, and after two years of negotiations between the "most senior management of both companies," Ericsson officials said in a Nov. 27 statement, Samsung has yet to renew the agreement. A Sweden-based communications technology vendor, Ericsson has U.S. headquarters in Texas. "The dispute concerns both Ericsson's patented technology that is essential to several telecommunications and networking standards used by Samsung's products as well as other of Ericsson's patented inventions that are frequently implemented in wireless and consumer electronics products," Ericsson officials said in their statement. It concluded that it "has no option other than legal action." Ericsson also accused Samsung of refusing to take a license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, known industry-wide as FRAND. FRAND licensing is essential to encouraging new players to enter the market, said Ericsson, as it strikes a balance between incentivizing them to contribute technology and keeping royalty rates reasonable.
"By the end of 2012 there will be approximately 6.6 billion mobile subscribers in the world. The sharing of technology in the telecom industry is one of the main drivers behind this development," Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson's chief intellectual property officer, said in a statement. "The telecom ecosystem builds on fair and reasonable terms that have created an attractive global mass market for mobility and broadband with Ericsson as a main contributor."