Ericsson sues Apple for patent infringement to defend fair licensing system

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  • Many of Ericsson's patents are essential to the 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE standards; others are critical to other non-standardized aspects of Apple's devices.
  • After Apple refused Ericsson's offer to have a court determine fair licensing terms by which both companies would be bound, Ericsson filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting an exclusion order against Apple's products for infringing Ericsson patents that are essential to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards.
  • Ericsson also filed a second ITC complaint seeking an exclusion order and multiple complaints in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas requesting damages and injunctions for infringement of patents that are critical to many other aspects of Apple's devices.
  • By refusing Ericsson's fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation.

On February 26, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) filed two complaints with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and seven complaints in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Apple asserting 41 patents covering many aspects of Apple's iPhones and iPads. The patents include standard essential patents related to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards as well as other patents that are critical to features and functionality of Apple devices such as the design of semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system. Ericsson seeks exclusion orders in the ITC proceedings and damages and injunctions in the District Court actions.

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 favorite 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."

Last month, Ericsson filed a suit in the Eastern District of Texas in order to receive an independent assessment on whether Ericsson's global licensing offer to Apple complies with Ericsson's commitment to offer fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms. Apple also filed a lawsuit asking the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to find that it does not infringe a small subset of Ericsson's patents, a claim that Ericsson disputes.

Apple's global license agreement for Ericsson's mobile technology expired last month, and Apple has declined to take a new license offered on FRAND terms. Ericsson made several attempts to find a fair solution, including an offer for both parties to be bound by a decision on fair licensing terms by a United States federal court. Apple has refused all attempts, so Ericsson has filed these infringement complaints to defend the industry's long-standing principle of technology sharing.

Ericsson has one of the industry's strongest intellectual property portfolios, which includes more than 35,000 granted patents worldwide. To date, Ericsson has signed more than 100 patent-licensing agreements with most of the major players in the industry.

Ericsson pioneered the open standards for today's advanced telecommunications platforms and contributed to significant advancements in technology and connectivity including 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE. These innovations, in turn, have enabled the creation of high-speed data networks that connect the world and enable people to send pictures, video chat, follow their favorite television shows, consult with doctors in remote locations, track materials in transit and much more from any location. Standards are also essential for allowing technology and devices from different companies to work together, which in turn creates more market opportunities for manufacturers and more choices for consumers.

NOTES TO EDITORS

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Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society - a world leader in communications technology and services. Our long-term relationships with every major telecom operator in the world allow people, business and society to fulfill their potential and create a more sustainable future.

Our services, software and infrastructure - especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud - are enabling the telecom industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve the user experience and capture new opportunities.

With approximately 115,000 professionals and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. We support networks that connect more than 2.5 billion subscribers. Forty percent of the world's mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks. And our investments in research and development ensure that our solutions - and our customers - stay in front.

Founded in 1876, Ericsson has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Net sales in 2014 were SEK 228.0 billion (USD 33.1 billion). Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX stock exchange in Stockholm and the NASDAQ in New York.

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