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Apple to face investigation over patent infringement complaint

Tech giant Apple is set to face an investigation for an alleged infringement of wireless patents from Swedish telecoms firm Ericsson.

Ericsson filed the complaint in February with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) over Apple's use of Ericsson's LTE technology. The planned investigation will also look into other IP technologies that are critical to Apple products.

The Swedish firm has filed two ITC complaints and seven lawsuits with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which aims to put injunctions against Apple product sales.

Apple previously filed a lawsuit against Ericsson in January for the alleged enormous royalty rates for the LTE technology license, which the Cupertino-based company refused to re-contract with Ericsson.

Legal battles such as this typically take years to sort out, with the technology in question often becoming obsolete when a lawsuit finally reaches a conclusion.

However, an investigation by the ITC may mean a faster ban on the technology, according to PC World's Martyn Williams.

The ITC "acts faster and can ban products from being imported to the US if they find there is a likelihood of infringement," Williams said.

Apple has faced similar legal battles over patents in the past, most notably against Samsung, which was also ongoing for a number of years.