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Ericsson and Samsung go to court over wireless patents

Ericsson has filed a suit against Samsung with the US District Court for infringing on its wireless patents. This comes after two years of negotiations over licensing failed to yield an agreement between the two firms.

The dispute is predicated on Samsung’s refusal to sign a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) license, which is a permit that allows patented technology to be offered to any interested party or company. The license is therefore used for ubiquitous technologies that in many cases are viewed as an industry standard. Qualcomm's WCDMA patents are a prime example of this as they compose part of the UMT standard used by the 3GPP processor which powers a large array of mobile devices.

"Ericsson has tried long and hard to amicably come to an agreement with Samsung and sign a license agreement on FRAND terms. We have turned to litigation as a last resort," explained chief intellectual property officer, Kasim Alfalahi.

"We have more than 100 cross-licensing agreements with various companies in the telecom industry. All the large consumer-electronics companies apart from Samsung have signed licensing agreements with us," he added.

The technology in question pertains to “connectivity” and could lead to the majority of Samsung devices being pulled off shelves if the court rules in favour of Ericsson.

The Korean firm’s refusal to reach an agreement with the network equipment provider has been attributed to Ericsson's royalty demands which Samsung has decried for being “excessive”.

“Now that the deal has to be renewed, we have faithfully committed ourselves to conducting fair and reasonable negotiations with Ericsson over the past two years, but this time Ericsson has demanded prohibitively higher royalty rates for the same patent portfolio,” read a Samsung statement.

“As we cannot accept such extreme demands, we will take all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson’s excessive claims,” it continued.