Ericsson has approached the US International Trade Commission with a request to ban US imports of Samsung products. The Sweden-based company, popular in the mobile phone networking equipment space, has sued Samsung over alleged violation of patents. Reports quoted spokesman Fredrik Hallstan as saying, “The request for an import ban is a part of the process. An import ban is not our goal. Our goal is that they (Samsung) sign license agreements on reasonable terms.”
Ericsson filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics in the US District Court in Tyler, Texas last week. Ericsson alleged that Samsung infringed on 24 of its software and hardware patents. Reportedly, the alleged violated patents have been deemed important and are part of broad mobile industry standards. These also involve “nonessential patents covering elements of a device’s user interface.” Interestingly, one of the patents in question elaborates upon the software technology that the Swedish company uses to translate speech into digital information and back.
An import ban looming in the background.
In fact, this lawsuit is Ericsson's second against Samsung in six years.
It has been known that Samsung's range of phones and tablets use some hardware and software that are developed and patented by Ericsson. The company's Chief Intellectual Property officer, Kasim Alfalahi, stated that the patents involved in the lawsuit deal with a host of patents involving GSM, GPRS, 3G and LTE standards.
Alfalahi has also stated that the company's earlier agreement for mobile patents with the South Korean giant expired in 2011. There have been negotiations since then, he added, but they bore no fruit.
The report reveals that the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, which are meant to make Samsung feel the heat to negotiate. “In its suit, Ericsson also alleged that Samsung, in a bid to compel Ericsson to lower its royalty demands, had refused to license Samsung’s own industry-standard patents that are essential for modern mobile telephony,” the report added.
The report also quoted Alfalahi as saying, “We have more than 100 agreements with all of the major handset makers. Our way is usually to try to avoid filing lawsuits. We are doing this only as a last resort.” However, Alfalahi refused to reveal if the company had hiked its royalty demands, or by how much.
Samsung on its part has stated that Ericsson is seeking a “substantial increase in royalty payments” and has promised to fight. In its statement, the South Korean giant said, “This time Ericsson has demanded significantly higher royalty rates for the same patent portfolio. As we cannot accept such extreme demands, we will take all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson’s excessive claims.”