Apple countersues Ericsson in 5G patent dispute

Apple responded to Ericsson’s lawsuit over the use of its 5G patents, filing a counterclaim in court, asking the United States to ban the import of the Swedish company’s mobile base stations. Ericsson and Apple have been in protracted negotiations over the use of 5G patents in iPhones after the previous deal closed. Ericsson filed an early lawsuit against Apple once every part of the agreement expired — and Apple has now opted for tit-for-tat.

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Ericsson previously filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, as well as in at least one unknown jurisdiction overseas. Apple chose to file a lawsuit with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Apple’s counterclaim asks the ITC to impose a U.S. import ban on Ericsson’s mobile infrastructure products. Apple said the products infringed three of its own millimeter-wave-related patents.

Apple has reportedly not previously asserted its rights to these patents in any lawsuits. Apple’s filing also said it was willing to withdraw the lawsuit — if Ericsson could do the same. Apple’s filing notes that the pending Apple v. Ericsson’s case offers a global resolution to the dispute. According to Ericsson’s filing earlier this week, Apple considered Ericsson to accept the terms of the existing transaction and settlement.

Apple’s filing said: [The company’s] actions in the U.S. and around the world demonstrate that they do not want courts to set fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (‘FRAND’) terms for their patents. Through such actions, [Ericsson] Entity] are inappropriately using their so-called Standard Essential Patents (‘SEP’) and Non-Standard Essential Patents (‘NEP’) as ammunition to coerce Apple into taking unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory actions against their so-called SEPs through injunctions permission.

If Ericsson is unwilling to withdraw all of their lawsuits and legal actions, Apple wants the court to decide what a fair license fee should be. [If Ericsson] is unwilling to agree to the FRAND terms of a cross-license to be determined by a Texas court, Apple is forced to respond to the defendant’s infringement of Apple’s patents.

Apple’s move to ask a Texas court to decide on fees is noteworthy. It is relatively common for Apple to request that a legal case in Texas be transferred to California.

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