Even as Samsung’s battle with arch rival Apple continues to swell, the New York Times has reported that the top smartphone maker has been sued by Ericsson for the alleged violation of patents.
Sweden-based Ericsson, a popular company in the mobile phone networking equipment space, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics in the US District Court in Tyler, Texas. Ericsson has alleged in its lawsuit that Samsung has 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.
Sued by Ericsson over patent infringements
In fact, this present 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, shared that the patents involved in the lawsuit deal with a host of patents involving GSM, GPRS, 3G and LTE mobile phone standards.
Alfalahi went on to share 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, and it is 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,” added the report further.
Alfalahi was quoted further, “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 shared that Ericsson is seeking a “substantial increase in royalty payments” and has promised to fight. In its statement, the South Korean giant shared that, “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.”
Samsung has been a lot in the news lately for its longstanding patent battle with Apple, among other things. The latest in this respect was Apple seeking the inclusion of the Samsung Galaxy Note II to the list of devices that allegedly infringe on Apple's patents. As per the filings at the San Jose federal court in California, Apple not just wants Samsung’s Jelly Bean-running devices included in the list, but also those running the Ice Cream Sandwich version.