By Dominic Chopping

 

STOCKHOLM--Ericsson AB has filed a number of patent-infringement lawsuits against Apple Inc. for using its technology in products such as its iPhones without a license.

Fallouts in the telecom industry aren't uncommon, as so much technology is shared in communication equipment, and these most recent lawsuits, filed Monday, are the latest in a line of spats between the companies as they argue over royalty payments.

With the rapid development of all-new technology to power 5G and the huge costs involved, developers are keen to ensure they recoup costs via royalties when their technology is used by others.

Apple first licensed Ericsson's patents in 2008 when it released the first iPhone. When that deal expired, a 2015 complaint by Ericsson against Apple led to another global cross-license deal between the companies, but those licenses have now expired after talks to renew the deal at the end of 2021 failed.

In October, Ericsson sued Apple, seeking a declaration that the 5G licensing rate it offered Apple was fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory, noting that the rate of between $2.50 and $5.00 for each 5G handset sold was set in 2017 to offer licensees transparency and predictability.

Apple counter sued in December, claiming the Swedish company was using "strong-arm tactics" to renew patents.

"Ericsson has filed a number of lawsuits against Apple for patent infringement in multiple jurisdictions," Ericsson said in an emailed statement Tuesday. "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 spends around $5 billion on research and development every year and has been granted more than 57,000 patents world-wide. Its technology is licensed through more than 100 licensing agreements, which currently generate around 7 billion Swedish kronor ($776.5 million) of annualized revenues.

"We've always been willing to pay a fair price for technology used in our products," Apple told The Wall Street Journal. "Ericsson has refused to negotiate fair terms for renewing our patent licensing agreement, and instead has been suing Apple around the world to extort excessive royalties."

Apple added that it is now asking the court to help determine a fair price for the standard essential patents that would apply worldwide.

"We will continue to defend against their tactics," Apple said.

 

Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 18, 2022 12:57 ET (17:57 GMT)

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