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Ericsson hits Apple with lawsuit, demands iPhone sales block

Ericsson has filed a lawsuit against Apple in hopes of resolving a fierce legal battle over telecoms patent licenses.

The Swedish company claims that Apple’s mobile products have allegedly infringed its patents. These patents are claimed to be essential to 2G and 4G/LTE network standards.

The suit specifically deals with Apple’s refusal to accept Ericsson’s offer to have a court decide appropriate terms for a licensing deal regarding the patents in question.

This goes back to January when Ericsson filed a complained with the US International Trade Commission requesting that it bar Apple from selling the supposedly infringing products in the states.

A second complaint to the ITC was also filed, again demanding a retail ban, as well as requesting that damages for infringing the patents be paid.

According to the company, Apple’s license agreement with Ericsson expired in January, which then led to the complaint.

Apple subsequently sued Ericsson on January 12 claiming that the patents were not essential, and that Ericsson was demanding far too much money in the form of royalties.

Ericsson offered to work out appropriate royalties in the US courts but Apple refused to comply, resulting in today’s lawsuit against the Cupertino, California-based company.

According to Reuters, Ericsson is demanding somewhere in the region of $250-750 million annually. That figure is based on estimated handset sales, with royalty payments worked out on a per-handset basis.

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It’s worth noting that Apple is currently the world’s most valuable company, worth over double the second place entrant Exxon Mobil. Its value in terms of market capitalisation is somewhere around $760 billion, so paying off the Ericsson royalties wouldn’t exactly break the bank.

It’s also important to mention that Ericsson is the world’s leading mobile network manufacturer, ahead of second-place Huawei and third-place Nokia.

Ericsson revenue accrued through licensing intellectual property in 2014 amounted to some $1.18 billion, so this is big business for the company.

We’ll update as this story unfolds.

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