Apple says Ericsson filed ‘secret’ Colombian patent lawsuit to ward off Texas court


The Apple logo is seen in this illustration taken March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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  • Ericsson obtained an injunction from the Bogota court last week
  • Apple says Ericsson wants to force it to pay ‘extremely excessive’ licensing fees

(Reuters) – Apple Inc accused Ericsson Inc on Friday of secretly filing patent lawsuits in Colombia in an attempt to force Apple to drop litigation in a Texas court and agree to an unfair patent license.

Apple told federal court in Marshall, Texas, that Ericsson filed more than ten lawsuits in Colombia, all “in secret” and “without any notice to Apple,” seeking to capitalize on their fight against licensing tariffs. for Ericsson’s 5G wireless standard. patents.

A Bogota court stopped Apple from selling phones that allegedly infringed an Ericsson 5G patent in one of the cases last week, Apple said.

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Ericsson declined to comment on Monday. Apple and its attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Holders of patents covering the technology needed to comply with international standards must offer licenses on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Disputes over FRAND licensing have led to several high-profile battles in the telecommunications industry.

Ericsson sued Apple in Texas last year, seeking a statement that it offered Apple FRAND terms for its 5G wireless patents and arguing that Apple’s licensing policies were unfair. According to Apple’s filing, the companies agreed that the Texas case would “lead to a binding resolution of FRAND terms for global cross-licensing.”

Apple on Friday accused Ericsson of filing “secret and ex parte” requests for court orders around the world blocking imports and sales of its products, forcing Apple to meet costs or submit to requests for Ericsson ahead of the trial scheduled by the Texas court in December.

“Ericsson knows that a lawsuit in December will expose its royalty demands as grossly excessive and directly contrary to FRAND,” Apple said.

Most of Ericsson’s efforts were unsuccessful, but the Bogota court on Thursday granted Ericsson a preliminary injunction, Apple said.

Apple asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to order Ericsson to cover Apple’s expenses related to the Colombia litigation.

Apple also accused Ericsson of hypocrisy, noting that the Swedish telecommunications giant obtained an order from the same Texas court preventing Samsung from using proceedings in China to interfere with their now-settled patent licensing dispute.

The case is Ericsson Inc v. Apple Inc, US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, No. 2:21-cv-00376.

For Ericsson: Ted Stevenson of Alston & Bird; Nicholas Mathews of McKool Smith; and Christine Woodin of Hueston Hennigan

For Apple: Mark Selwyn and Joseph Mueller of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr; Ruffin Cordell, Benjamin Elacqua and Betty Chen of Fish & Richardson

Read more:

Ericsson sues Apple to clear proposed 5G patent licensing tariffs

Ericsson sues Apple again over 5G patent license

Ericsson settles patent dispute with Samsung

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Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at [email protected]

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