Ericsson sues as patent talks fail
Ericsson, the world’s biggest telecom network equipment maker, has said it is suing Samsung Electronics for patent infringement after two years of talks failed to yield a licence agreement.
Sweden’s Ericsson, which reckons more than 40 per cent of the world’s mobile traffic passes through its networks, filed a lawsuit in the US saying Samsung had refused to sign a licence to use technology on terms it referred to as fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND).
“Ericsson has tried long and hard to amicably come to an agreement with Samsung and sign a licence agreement on FRAND terms. We have turned to litigation as a last resort,” said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson.
Mr Alfalahi noted Ericsson has over 30,000 patents and more than 100 licence agreements with major players in the industry.
The Ericsson dispute concerns patented technology the Swedish firm says is essential to several telecommunications and networking standards used by Samsung’s products, as well as other patented inventions that are frequently implemented in wireless and consumer electronics products.
A big increase in smartphone and tablet computer sales has driven a switch in traffic on telecoms networks from mainly voice calls to video and music, which take up more capacity.
And while data traffic is surging – smartphone subscriptions alone are expected to rise to 3.3 billion by 2018 according to Ericsson’s own figures – operators are finding it hard to get customers to pay much extra, squeezing their profits.
With Ericsson suffering a big drop in sales at its network unit – down 17 per cent in the third quarter – it is increasingly turning to the courts to maintain its patent income.
Samsung says it will “take all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson’s excessive claims”. – Reuters