Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,623
19,373


Telecom giant Ericsson has filed another set of patent infringement lawsuits against Apple in a long-running dispute between the two companies over royalty payments for the use of 5G wireless patents in iPhones.

iphone-5g-mmwave-16x9.jpg

In 2021, both companies sued each other in the US after negotiations failed over the renewal of a seven-year licensing contract for telecom patents covering 2G, 3G, and 4G technologies that was established in 2015.

Despite long negotiations, the two companies have been unable to reach a new patent-licensing agreement that also covers 5G, and in October, Ericsson sued Apple claiming that the company was unfairly trying to reduce royalty rates. Two months later, Apple countersued Ericsson, accusing the Swedish company of using "strong-arm tactics" in its bid to renew patents.
"Since the prior agreement has expired, and we have been unable to reach agreement on the terms and scope of a new license, Apple is now using our technology without a license," an Ericsson spokesman told Reuters.
Ericsson might be a relative minnow in the smartphone business, but its portfolio of telecommunications patents is vast. The company holds over 57,000 patents, royalties from which account for around a third of its operating profit. As for its 5G patent, the company usually collects $2.50 to $5 in royalties per phone.

According to a recent Ericsson filing, that's the rate it still wants to collect: "Ericsson is willing to continue to offer Apple our publicly announced 5G multimode rate of $5 per phone (with a $1 early signing discount) a rate which we will continue to honor assuming we execute a license relatively quickly."

However, following its acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem business, Apple believes it now holds a share of declared 5G patent families that is comparable to Ericsson's share. As such, Apple thinks its net payments to Ericsson should decrease compared to the 2015 license.

Shortly after it acquired Intel's patents, Apple published a statement on its website covering the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs). In the statement, Apple cautioned against any companies that "use the power conferred by standardization to eliminate competition through selective patent licensing or discriminatory and excessive royalties."

Despite its position, Florian Mueller, an intellectual property expert who runs the Foss Patents website, believes Apple is fighting a losing battle and that Ericsson has the advantage, thanks to recent terms it agreed with Samsung for the use of its 5G patents.

"The overall circumstances suggest to me that Ericsson is going to win this, and the only leverage Apple has is 'hold-out.'" says Muller. "I believe the Ericsson-Samsung license deal involves a somewhat lower royalty rate on those Samsung phones that cost a fraction of an iPhone, but that whenever the terms of the Ericsson-Samsung license come into play (comparable licenses, non-discrimination), Ericsson can argue that even Samsung accepted to pay a royalty rate that is consistent with demanding $5 per iPhone from Apple."

Article Link: Ericsson Sues Apple Again Over 5G Patent Licensing Infringements
 
Last edited:

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors G3
Mar 7, 2007
8,754
4,712
Midwest America.
Patents should expire after 7 years.

You would think they should have a reasonable term. How long does a troll get to sit still, with a room full of attorneys, making a major portion of their income by suing organizations they view as a threat to their profits. To think there are 'corporations' that only have income because of their patents and threats of legal action should be offensive to everyone. Same thing with copyrights. That Disney has warped reality to keep their copyrights on their characters is proof that either Disney needs to evolve, or there should be a different type of protection for logos and 'visual intellectual property', although even that would be abused of course.

Patents and copyrights are destroying a market for evolved and evolving existing products. (Patenting software was obscene!)

EDIT: I'm always amazed at the people that disagree with statements about patents and such. Why?
 
Last edited:

IIGS User

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2019
746
1,932
The only time I ever saw the Verizon 5GUW logo was at the airport.

Which is funny considering all the 5G/airport hoopla going on now.

🤣

I've seen it in the sports complex in the city I'm near, and in the city center where I go for my medical appointments. I've also seen it at the beach resorts on the East coast (Delaware beaches, Ocean City, MD). OCMD has VZW mmw coverage on the boardwalk and if you get an oceanfront room, the coverage spills over into the room. So I HAVE spotted the Verizon Bigfoot a few times.

As far as the whole hub bub with the airlines and 5G, I don't feel like I have ALL the information. On one hand, an aviation industry advocate is saying "To be blunt, the nation's commerce will grind to a halt." That's a little over the top for me. If you're gonna talk like that, you had better be sure that's the case.

On the flip side, the amount of spectrum separation between C-Band and radar altimeter operations should be more than sufficient to preclude any major issues. The front end of the receiver in these avionics should have been more than capable of filtering out these emissions with something as simple as a decent band pass filter built into the equipment at the time it was engineered.


If I had to venture a guess, I would say the equipment in the 51% of planes (I pulled that statistic from a CNN article I read on the subject last night) that do not meet the FAA guidelines is over 15 yrs old. The equipment was made as cheaply as possible, pushed out through a half baked airworthiness certification process on par with that which gave us the 737 Max/ MCAS debacle and the manufactures, FAA, and and airlines are looking to cover their behinds in the event something comes out and puts egg on their faces again.

It's the most logical explanation IMHO.
 

bollman

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2001
510
993
Lund, Sweden
Ericsson has about 100000 employees, and a lot of them are working with R&D in the telecom area (I know a few).
Ericsson produces no consumer products anymore and focuses on the R&D where they historically has made the very foundation of what makes the mobile industry possible, and still produces massive amounts of patents that drive the industry.
Ericsson could be classified as a "patent troll" as they make no products but instead license their patents... :rolleyes:
 
  • Like
Reactions: a104375

Syk

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2010
946
300
Patents should expire after 7 years.
I don't know about 7 years. Maybe 10. That's a decade and I guess it should depend on what's being patent.
Patents do need to be addressed. Somethings shouldn't be patentable

Look at Scuf Controllers(Gamers will know)
How can you make a game controller based off Playstation/XBox design and stick some buttons on the back and now Microsoft and Sony has to pay them a royalty if they want to put buttons on the back of a controller that they made.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SilverWalker

ghostface147

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2008
3,766
4,188
Meanwhile I’m waiting for the world to grind to a halt because Verizon and AT&T are turning on 5g via c-band.
 

xyz01

macrumors regular
May 17, 2009
210
237
Oslo, Norway
Ericsson has about 100000 employees, and a lot of them are working with R&D in the telecom area (I know a few).
Ericsson produces no consumer products anymore and focuses on the R&D where they historically has made the very foundation of what makes the mobile industry possible, and still produces massive amounts of patents that drive the industry.
Ericsson could be classified as a "patent troll" as they make no products but instead license their patents... :rolleyes:

Ericsson makes products, but no longer targets consumers - they now sell infrastructure (5G etc), where they compete with Huawei and Nokia. Thus, they're still making products and need innovation in that area.

A patent troll they're not, and it didn't sound like they tried getting a percentage of device sale price or anything else strange either. And I see no reason why Apple should get a reduced price for buying Intel, unless Ericsson needs to license patents from Intel for its backbone products. In which case, that would make sense as a separate agreement.
 

xyz01

macrumors regular
May 17, 2009
210
237
Oslo, Norway
And this is why we need open standards on just about anything. The consumer doesn't benefit from this.

As much as I am disgusted by some of the tactics Apple has used in the past, Ericsson just hoarding patents should be an example of why patents should not be something you practically pull from a vending machine.

This is about standards - 5G standards included. Which is why phones and infrastructure work together. To be part of a standard, companies need to agree to "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs)". Ericsson being major innovator and contributor[1] doesn't mean that they shouldn't be compensated - an Apple has paid them this rate in the past, they just want to pay less now.

[1] Ericsson no longer sells consumer devices, but they sell the infrastructure part of cell phone connectivity - all those radio towers etc which keep your phone working.
 
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: Agit21 and DeepIn2U

laptech

macrumors 68000
Apr 26, 2013
1,568
1,958
Earth
I agree with the part written in the article about the Ericsson-Samsung 5G license deal in that Samsung have not come out and complained of them being treated badly by Ericsson or using 'strong arm tactics against them' to force them into an unfavourable deal which tells me Apple are trying misinformation shaming tactics against Ericsson to force them to sign them a deal that is more favourable to Apple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Agit21

MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,560
1,262
I don't know about 7 years. Maybe 10. That's a decade and I guess it should depend on what's being patent.
Patents do need to be addressed. Somethings shouldn't be patentable

Look at Scuf Controllers(Gamers will know)
How can you make a game controller based off Playstation/XBox design and stick some buttons on the back and now Microsoft and Sony has to pay them a royalty if they want to put buttons on the back of a controller that they made.
Right, it depends on the patent. For an example, I'm 100% against medical patents, software patents, and anything uses limited resources such as radio. Humanity benefits from accessing the radiowave spectrum on an open-access basic. A single company owning how to access the radiowave spectrum should not be controlling what they charge or dictate the terms.

I agree with the part written in the article about the Ericsson-Samsung 5G license deal in that Samsung have not come out and complained of them being treated badly by Ericsson or using 'strong arm tactics against them' to force them into an unfavourable deal which tells me Apple are trying misinformation shaming tactics against Ericsson to force them to sign them a deal that is more favourable to Apple.
We don't know exactly what each company negotiated for each license agreement. Recall that several companies like Samsung colluded with other companies to try to set prices (memory chip pricing, etc) and/or agree to one price while getting something else instead.

In other words, how do you know for sure Samsung didn't complain and/or got something else instead?

Remember the previous case with Apple and other company, I forgot which one. Several companies actually said they didn't have an option and agreed with Apple, they just went without it because they cannot afford the fight.

Apple has the cash to fight these battles against incumbents, other companies don't.

Also, just to be clear, I'm not for or against either side here, there's just not enough information. I don't agree with having a single company controlling the overall patent price for a radio patent.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.