Ericsson and Apple Call Truce

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  January 04, 2023

Ericsson and Apple are two companies that have a habit of getting into a rift between each other. The first altercation dates back to 2015 with the two companies accusing each other of patent infringement and licensing disagreements with 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

The feud obviously did not stop there. Another altercation between the two parties in 2021 is in relation over renewal of the agreement the two had in place from 2015 – Ericsson accusing Apple (News - Alert) of minimizing royalty rates. Naturally, Apple did not sit idly and countersued over allegations Ericsson was using unfair pressure tactics for the renewal. Another lawsuit is on file, from Ericsson (News - Alert) in January 2022, over 5G licenses.

The bright side is, there is peace again as the two reached a multi-year, global patent license agreement that includes a cross-license relating to patented cellular standard-essential technologies and grants certain other patent rights.

This settlement ends the lawsuits filed by both companies in several countries, including in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas as well as the complaints filed before the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Ericsson's IPR licensing revenues are affected by factors that include expired patent license agreements pending renewal, the technology shift from 4G to 5G and currency effects and geopolitical impact going forward. Including effects of the agreement with Apple covering sales from Jan. 15, 2022, and including ongoing IPR business with all other licensees, Ericsson estimates the fourth quarter 2022 IPR licensing revenues will be 5.5-6 billion Swedish Kronas.

Additionally, Ericsson and Apple mutually agreed to strengthen their technology and business collaboration, including in technology, interoperability and standards development.

"We are pleased to settle the litigations with Apple with this agreement, which is of strategic importance to our 5G licensing program,” said Christina Petersson, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson. “This will allow both companies to continue to focus on bringing the best technology to the global market."

Edited by Greg Tavarez