Ericsson sues Samsung for alleged patent violation

Ericsson headquarters
Image caption Ericsson hold many patents that are essential to technologies that allow global communication

Ericsson has filed a lawsuit in the US against South Korea's Samsung Electronics for allegedly infringing its patents.

Sweden's Ericsson said Samsung failed to renew an expired licence agreement after two years of negotiations.

Samsung said Ericsson was demanding higher royalty rates for the same set of patents.

In recent months, almost all major mobile device companies globally have been involved in patent lawsuits.

'Essential' technology

Ericsson, one of the earliest innovators in the telecommunications field, holds thousands of patents for technologies used in everyday global communication.

"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 said in a statement.

Ericsson's lawsuit was filed in a court in Texas where its American operations are headquartered.

It did not state the amount it was seeking from Samsung in damages.

However, Ericsson said it had earned $938m (£585m) last year in revenue from more than 100 licence agreements with companies in the industry.

Samsung said it would contest the allegations.

"This time Ericsson has demanded significantly higher royalty rates for the same patent portfolio," the company said in a statement.

"As we cannot accept such extreme demands, we will take all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson's excessive claims."

Growing competition

The global system for licences allows for rival companies to agree the use of patents under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions.

Companies pay royalties to the patent holder and can use the technology to grow their business.

However, stiff competition in the mobile device market has lead to a much more protective stance by many companies over their patents in order to generate revenues.

Nokia and Apple have also taken rivals to court over patent infringement.

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