In the realm of technology, we are no stranger to court cases, trials and tribulations – usually involving Apple. The mainstay used to be Steve Job and his “relentless thermonuclear war” against Android, but in an ironic twist of fate it is Apple that may be facing a huge bill for compensation as well as having their products banned for infringements against Ericsson.
A multitude of infringements have been filed against Apple by the Swedish communications company, totaling nine different lawsuits. Seven were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and two with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Combined, the lawsuits allege infringement of 41 patents held by Ericsson.
Ericsson is seeking an injunction that would ban sales of the iPhone and iPad in the US, along with an unspecified amount in damages. They are unwilling to put a figure on the specific damages without “going through discovery and special accounting processes.”
It will be extremely hard for Apple to argue that the devices don’t use the technology in question because up until last month Ericsson licensed the use of the technology to Apple. These patents are known as “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms – although the definition of reasonable can vary wildly depending on which court you hold them up in. Unfortunately Apple did not agree with the terms of a new patent licencing agreement and thus fall foul.
This move of negotiating a better deal through the courts is not unique to Apple. It is becoming an almost standard practice with courts being more hostile to companies holding their patents up to high payment for technology that is almost industry standard. The vast number of patents now held by Google from its Motorola purchase is held in a similar regard.
It is unlikely Apple would ever let the iPhone and iPad be removed from sale, they would bow to a deal long before then. So this may just be a way for Ericsson to get a better deal – or just something to do with Apple’s vast cash reserves!Source: Bloomberg
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