When the first iPhone sales ban went into effect in Colombia, the Apple-Ericsson patent battle took to a new level. Now, Apple appears to be preparing to apply for an injunction against the import and sale of Ericsson products.
The move would mean a new legal move for Apple, aided by its $1 billion acquisition of Intel’s modem business in 2019…
Colombia’s iPhone 12/13 5G mobile phones were banned from sales, Apple first filed a lawsuit against Ericsson for SEP infringement claims
Ericsson has accused Apple of infringing its patents on the 5G chips used in the current iPhone 13. Apple has paid royalties for the use of patented technology in the past, but failed to renew the license when it expired. It is reported that Apple hopes to negotiate a better deal on 5G licenses after earlier agreements on 2G, 3G and 4G patented technologies.
The situation heated up last December when Apple sued Ericsson, claiming the Swedish company had violated FRAND terms. International law requires standard-essential patents (SEPs: technology without which smartphones could not be made) to be conditional on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. In other words, Apple is claiming that Ericsson is overcharging for licensed patent licenses.
Ericsson, in turn, accused Apple of wasting court resources by forcing unnecessary litigation on two fronts. Apple has fought back against Ericsson with additional patent infringement claims.
Apple refused to pay to put pressure on Ericsson, which wanted to reciprocate Apple by banning the import and sale of iPhones in several countries. The Swedish company achieved its first iPhone ban in Colombia.
Apple files first SEP infringement lawsuit against Ericsson
Apple has filed several patent infringement counterclaims against Ericsson before, but never filed a patent infringement lawsuit against standard-essential patents (SEPs), probably because Apple’s previous R&D work did not involve them.
But after acquiring Intel’s modem business in 2019, Apple owns some standard-essential patents, and Foss Patents reports that Apple has filed a patent infringement claim on standard-essential patents for the first time.
“More and more ‘firsts’ in Ericsson v. Apple 5G patent dispute. Colombia’s first-ever Standard Essential Patent (SEP) judgment (Ericsson is enforcing a 5G ban that Apple is trying to block); First-ever ’emergency motion’ for an anti-litigation damages order; now Apple’s first SEP lawsuit. Apple has been a recipient of SEP lawsuits before.”
The patent in question applies to 4G/LTE technology.
Florian Mueller said that while it’s unclear whether Apple is seeking to ban the import and sale of Ericsson’s 4G/LTE products, the court of Apple’s choice offers a huge clue.