ITC to investigate Apple on allegations of Ericsson patent infringement

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Following formal complaints by Ericsson, the U.S. International Trade Commission on Monday showed intent to launch an investigation into Apple's potentially illegal use of patented LTE technology.




The ITC investigation will take a closer look at Apple's use of granted Ericsson wireless network patents, specifically those applying to LTE technology, as well as other IP deemed "critical" to certain Apple products.

As noted by PC World, the ITC decision is a reaction to a legal barrage Ericsson lobbed at Apple in February. The Swedish telecommunications giant lodged two ITC complaints and seven lawsuits with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, seeking both damages and injunctions against Apple product sales.

Apple sparked a legal battle in January by suing Ericsson over allegedly excessive royalty rates applied to previously licensed LTE technology. Shortly before Apple sued, the Cupertino company refused to re-sign a contract with Ericsson, saying the now expired licensing terms were excessive as patents-in-suit should not be considered standard essential.

"Ericsson seeks to exploit its patents to take the value of these cutting-edge Apple innovations, which resulted from years of hard work by Apple engineers and designers and billions of dollars of Apple research and development -- and which have nothing to do with Ericsson's patents," Apple's original complaint reads.

Ericsson said it offered Apple fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) pricing in hopes of striking a new deal, but exact terms were not revealed. Court filings show Ericsson sought a portion of overall device sales, while Apple argued a more equitable deal would charge on a per-component basis. Overall, Ericsson is asserting more than 41 separate patents against Apple relating to a variety of wireless standards and technologies.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49

    We gotta love Washington... another foreign company getting our government -- the one that we pay for -- to go after Apple.

     

    Anyone remember Samsung?

  • Reply 2 of 49
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,647member

    Anyone suing in the Eastern District of Texas knows they don't have a leg to stand on but hope they can buffalo the jurists into going against Apple. If they had sued anywhere else, I'd consider their claims but not now. I know Ericsson is a huge company but LTE is a standard and as such people who want to use this standard shouldn't be charged more than a reasonable amount and we know Ericsson is trying to gouge Apple simply because they are selling a ton of phones and they probably can't get any money out of Samsung so who's left to charge royalties?

  • Reply 3 of 49
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,174member
    rob53 wrote: »
    Anyone suing in the Eastern District of Texas knows they don't have a leg to stand on but hope they can buffalo the jurists...
    When Apple's Rockstar Consortium sued Google guess where they filed?
  • Reply 4 of 49
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 222member
    Ridiculous. They wanted a share of the purchase price of every iPhone and iPad sold? Wow!! Unbelievable. The LTE chips aren't even made by them. Little bank trying to take big bank. Lol.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,174member
    pujones1 wrote: »
    Ridiculous. They wanted a share of the purchase price of every iPhone and iPad sold? Wow!! Unbelievable. The LTE chips aren't even made by them. Little bank trying to take big bank. Lol.
    A quibble but it's not on the purchase price it's on the wholesale cost to Apple, ie the build cost. It's also a very common royalty basis. Apple pays royalties to other IP holders based on the build costs too. Fair? IMO perhaps not in some cases but it's an industry standard that all the manufacturers deal with.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    chelinchelin Posts: 79member
    You guys are funny! ???? what is so hard to understand with a patent?

    If someone was using and not paying apple for reproducing the Lightning connector what would apple do?

    What did apple do with Google when they thought that google copied an immaterial GUI?

    ... All I'm saying is that you gotta have some ability to think for yourself guys!
  • Reply 7 of 49

    Not long ago .... we used to make tons of $$ selling this shit!

    Good old days ...

    :smokey:

  • Reply 8 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chelin View Post





    What did apple do with Google when they thought that google copied an immaterial GUI?

     

     

    That one statement earned you a one-way trip to my block list.

  • Reply 9 of 49
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chelin View Post



    You guys are funny! ???? what is so hard to understand with a patent?



    If someone was using and not paying apple for reproducing the Lightning connector what would apple do?



    What did apple do with Google when they thought that google copied an immaterial GUI?



    ... All I'm saying is that you gotta have some ability to think for yourself guys!



    Is the lightening connector covered by FRAND? No, so you can't compare it. 

    Get a clue before speaking.

  • Reply 10 of 49
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,398member
    disturbia wrote: »
    Not long ago .... we used to make tons of $$ selling this shit!
    Good old days ...
    :smokey:

    They probably made a tonnes more money than Apple did from their iMac 3G when that phone was around 15 years ago.

    But, why people like you seem to be ignorant to the fact that Apple would be nowhere with the iPhone if it wasn't for the work that Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola etc have put in for the past several decades, spending billions in R&D, countless hours by their engineers developing these radio technologies that we have now.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jfanning View Post





    They probably made a tonnes more money than Apple did from their iMac 3G when that phone was around 15 years ago.



    But, why people like you seem to be ignorant to the fact that Apple would be nowhere with the iPhone if it wasn't for the work that Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola etc have put in for the past several decades, spending billions in R&D, countless hours by their engineers developing these radio technologies that we have now.



    That doesn't give them the right to charge people whatever they want. They lost that right when they offered their technologies under FRAND. Maybe they should have spent that money making a decent OS instead, then perhaps they wouldn't all be also-rans.

    I'm not going to shed a tear for these companies. They had their chance and they blew it.

  • Reply 12 of 49
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by chelin View Post



    You guys are funny! ???? what is so hard to understand with a patent?



    If someone was using and not paying apple for reproducing the Lightning connector what would apple do?



    What did apple do with Google when they thought that google copied an immaterial GUI?



    ... All I'm saying is that you gotta have some ability to think for yourself guys!



    And yet you dropped by to spout the same old dross folk have been hearing from the Android crowd for years.

     

    So you're not actually thinking for yourself.

  • Reply 13 of 49
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,398member

    That doesn't give them the right to charge people whatever they want. They lost that right when they offered their technologies under FRAND. Maybe they should have spent that money making a decent OS instead, then perhaps they wouldn't all be also-rans.
    I'm not going to shed a tear for these companies. They had their chance and they blew it.

    Who said it did? But fair is an abstract term, who says what fair is? But that doesn't stop the fact that Apple needs these companies.

    Also, I'm not sure what you mean about also-rans? Ericsson is the largest cellular networking company in the world, it is one of the few companies that build the infrastructure Apple needs to sell iPhone.

    But back to the post I replied to, why are you more interested in the FRAND part (which I didn't reference) than someone referencing a device Ericsson built 15 years ago?
  • Reply 14 of 49
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    So confusing.

    [quote name="AppleInsider" url="/t/185483/itc-to-investigate-apple-on-allegations-of-ericsson-patent-infringement#post_2701118"
    Apple sparked a legal battle <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/01/14/apple-sues-ericsson-to-trim-wireless-patent-royalty-rates">in January</a> by suing Ericsson over allegedly excessive royalty rates applied to previously licensed LTE technology. Shortly before Apple sued, the Cupertino company refused to re-sign a contract with Ericsson, saying the now expired licensing terms were excessive as patents-in-suit should not be considered standard essential.

    So Ericsson upped their licensing rates beyond the initially negotiated global figure for use in the first iPhone - for non standard essential patents, but now wants a per-unit (à la FRAND) payment?...and Apple thinks the expired terms were excessive.... or the new FRAND_ like terms are excessive? It's certainly not clear.
    "Ericsson seeks to exploit its patents to take the value of these cutting-edge Apple innovations, which resulted from years of hard work by Apple engineers and designers and billions of dollars of Apple research and development -- and which have nothing to do with Ericsson's patents," Apple's original complaint reads.

    I thought that was the line being taken by Ericsson for their R&D?
    Ericsson said it offered Apple fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) pricing in hopes of striking a new deal, but exact terms were not revealed. Court filings show Ericsson sought a portion of overall device sales, while Apple argued a more equitable deal would charge on a per-component basis. Overall, Ericsson is asserting more than 41 separate patents against Apple relating to a variety of wireless standards and technologies.

    Now I'm completely bamboozled. This sounds like like Ericsson is offering FRAND licensing for all it's IP, even the NON -essential bits, in the time-honoured fashion (unit %) favoured by the previous industry incumbents disrupted by the iPhone.

    Apple has struggled with this argument in countless court cases - just what is the correct pricing model for Standard Essential IP, component cost or per device %. Indeed Apple confusingly uses both methods when licensing its own IP
    I fear American courts are incapable of sorting this out.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    Interesting to note how AI is missing some interesting bits.  The Article doesn't mention this:

     

    Quote:


     
    Ericsson said it has filed two complaints to the ITC and seven more to a court in Texas after Apple rejected an offer from Ericsson to "have a court determine fair licensing terms."



     http://phys.org/news/2015-02-sweden-ericsson-sues-apple-patent.html#jCp

     

    What on earth are Apple trying on here?:

     

    Quote:


     
    Apple in turn had filed a legal complaint in January against Ericsson, claiming the patents were not up to industry standards and that the Swedish group had asked for excessive royalties for them in its licencing renewal offer.



     

    Not up to industry standards?  Are they claiming the patents are somehow invalid or are they complaining the patented tech is somehow of low quality - in which case - why use it?

  • Reply 16 of 49

    Everyone should do some searching on this whole area with Ericsson. In just a couple of clicks I came up with articles stating that a number of major phone vendors signed cross patent agreements for LTE patents in 2014. Just the Samsung agreement added a potential $500m to the profits of Ericsson.

    So before we all jump and down in disgust with Ericsson, perhaps, just perhaps they have a pretty legit case.

    We all love Apple, but here it looks like they are behaving like a spoilt kid. I'd have thought by now Apple would behave better.

  • Reply 17 of 49
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,352member

    It's different. Ericsson made their patents part of the LTE standard and are trying to take a piece of every iPhone. There's a whole lot more value wrapped up in an iPhone than just LTE but they still want a piece of that.

     

    If Apple patents something, they don't need to allow others to use it. They don't need to even offer licensing at all if they don't want to.  But in this case, the FRAND patents MUST be licensed.

     

    I think at issue here are these wireless has-beens (at least in the consumer space) are trying to tap into the only company making money and probably in a way that is not fair... the first letter in that acronym.

  • Reply 18 of 49
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,352member

    They probably aren't using the dumb technology, but Ericsson thinks they are so they are suing.  So it will go to court and Apple will prove that the patents are invalid and Ericsson could be held holding a bag of hurt especially if they get the ITC to ban iPhone products.  Good luck with that.

  • Reply 19 of 49
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

     

    It's different. Ericsson made their patents part of the LTE standard and are trying to take a piece of every iPhone. There's a whole lot more value wrapped up in an iPhone than just LTE but they still want a piece of that.

     

    If Apple patents something, they don't need to allow others to use it. They don't need to even offer licensing at all if they don't want to.  But in this case, the FRAND patents MUST be licensed.

     

    I think at issue here are these wireless has-beens (at least in the consumer space) are trying to tap into the only company making money and probably in a way that is not fair... the first letter in that acronym.




     If the assertion that Ericsson wanted to have a court determine what is fair is accurate - what is wrong with that?

  • Reply 20 of 49
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,174member
    jkichline wrote: »
    It's different. Ericsson made their patents part of the LTE standard and are trying to take a piece of every iPhone. There's a whole lot more value wrapped up in an iPhone than just LTE but they still want a piece of that.

    If Apple patents something, they don't need to allow others to use it. They don't need to even offer licensing at all if they don't want to.  But in this case, the FRAND patents MUST be licensed.

    I think at issue here are these wireless has-beens (at least in the consumer space) are trying to tap into the only company making money and probably in a way that is not fair... the first letter in that acronym.
    The patents Ericsson is claiming Apple is using without paying for the rights are not all FRAND-pledged. That's plainly noted in the AI article, so your mention that if Apple patents something it doesn't mean they have to allow others to use it would apply equally to Ericsson too, correct?

    EDIT: Here's what Ericsson had to say. Note they mention the purpose of the Texas filing is for a court to decide if Ericsson's offer to Apple was fair. Of particular significance is the claim that Ericsson made "an offer for both parties to be bound by a decision on fair licensing terms by a United States federal court. Apple has refused..."

    If true that seems like an eminently fair solution to me. What do you think?
    http://www.ericsson.com/news/1897919

    TMay is another member here who has taken the time to do some research on his own (too few seem to have done so before commenting) and I'd love to read his take on it as well.
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