Ericsson wants the International Trade Commission to ban the iPhone from sale in the U.S. over a rapidly escalating patent battle. The former maker of rather good feature phones, and long-time Sony partner, owns a lot of patents essential to the function of modern smartphones. It now works on the infrastructure side of the mobile industry, but is prepared to vigorously defend its patents from those who it considers are using them without the requisite permission.
It’s in the middle of a battle with Apple over just this, and the spat has now taken a serious turn. Apparently, Apple, has been paying Ericsson for a series of patents up until January this year, when talks to renew the license broke down, resulting in them both going to court over the problems.
Ericsson has now filed seven new lawsuits in America against Apple, and has made a request to the ITC for the iPhone to be blocked from sale. It claims 41 patents are being infringed by Apple, related to everything from the battery to the user interface. In a report published by Bloomberg, an Ericsson spokesman said, “We have offered them a licence, they have turned it down.” Ericsson’s offer of an independent arbitrator to work out fair rates was also refused by Apple, states the report.
Apple, of course, has a different view. It says Ericsson is, “exploiting its patents to take the value of these cutting-edge Apple innovations,” and accuses the company of “abusive” patent licensing practices.
Whether anything comes of Ericsson’s attempt to ban the iPhone from sale remains to be seen, but at this stage, it’s being viewed as a way to force Apple’s arm over reaching a speedier and mutually acceptable agreement.