Ericsson is suing Apple for the infringement of multiple patents. According to the complaint, Apple unlawfully uses Ericsson’s technology to support 5G in iPhones.

The lawsuit is the result of a long-standing dispute. In 2015, Apple and Ericsson started a collaboration. Ericsson permitted Apple to use its patents to manufacture devices, including iPhones. Seven years later, the contract expired. Negotiations for a renewal went sour. Ericsson sued Apple in 2021 for ”bad faith”. Apple fired back with a charge alleging abuse of power.

Now, a few months later, Ericsson is taking the next step. The organization says that Apple has continued to use its patents. Ericsson has not given consent. Apple is accused of infringing upon several patents. “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”, an Ericsson spokesperson said.

Theft seems to be the norm

Lawsuits over patents are common. In some cases, manufacturers pay several euros or dollars for each device that uses patented technology. Ericsson holds more than 57,000 patents. A manufacturer buys licenses to use one or more patents. 5G handsets are exemplary. For each model sold, Ericsson gains a few dollars.

Ericsson takes a massive blow if a manufacturer sells products without a license for months on end. Defending patents is just as important as developing them. A single lawsuit can drastically affect quarterly earnings.

The latter is equally true for manufacturers. According to Apple, Ericsson charges unreasonable prices for indispensable technologies.

Licensing fees are fixed for several years, making every penny count. Substantial amounts of money are at stake. The organizations are likely to put up a fight for as long as is legally possible.

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