Ericsson, a developer of wireless and communication technologies, has filed a patent infringement action against Samsung after it refused to sign a license agreement on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms, despite two years of negotiations. Ericsson believes it must take action to support a crucial system for technology that has helped create today's mass market communications industry
The dispute concerns both Ericsson's patented technology that is essential to several telecommunications and networking standards used by Samsung's products as well as other of Ericsson's patented inventions that are frequently implemented in wireless and consumer electronics products. Ericsson has concluded that it has no option other than legal action after negotiations have not been successful since Samsung has refused to take a license on FRAND terms.
Samsung previously licensed Ericsson's patents in 2001 and renewed in 2007, but its license has now expired. Ericsson has extended an offer to Samsung to renew the license during negotiations that have lasted nearly two years. These negotiations have not been successful since Samsung has refused to take a license on FRAND terms.
Ericsson holds one of the strongest patent portfolios in the industry with more than 30 000 patents worldwide that cover technologies used in GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, LTE and 802.11 standards. To date, Ericsson has signed more than 100 license agreements with all major players in the industry.
"By the end of 2012 there will be approximately 6.6 billion mobile subscriptions in the world. The sharing of technology in the telecom industry is one of the main drivers behind this development. The telecom ecosystem builds on fair and reasonable terms that have created an attractive global mass market for mobility and broadband with Ericsson as a main contributor", says Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson.
Despite nearly two years of negotiations involving the most senior management of both companies, Samsung refused to renew its license to Ericsson's industry leading portfolio of telecommunications patents on the same ("FRAND") terms that its competitors have previously accepted.
The complaint is filed in the district court for the eastern district of Texas, USA, which is the district where Ericsson's U.S. headquarters is located.