On October 4, 2021, Ericsson Inc. and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (collectively “Ericsson” or “Plaintiffs”), represented by Theodore Stevenson, III of Alston & Bird LLP, filed a contract lawsuit against Apple Inc. (“Apple” or “Defendant”), seeking declaratory relief along with costs and attorneys’ fees, for Defendant’s alleged accusation in public regarding Ericsson’s licensing practices as violating FRAND, and that Ericsson is not prepared to grant Apple a license on FRAND terms and conditions. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas with Judge Rodney Gilstrap presiding.
In the complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that, “Despite receiving substantial revenues from its sales of iPhones and other cellular devices, Apple has historically resisted licensing overtures by Ericsson, and other essential patent holders, as part of a global strategy to devalue standard essential patents and reduce Apple’s royalty payments. As part of its strategy, Apple has accused essential patent holders of “hold up,” which Apple characterizes as essential patent holders concealing their licensing terms from the industry until the standard is frozen, then using that “lock in” to obtain supra-FRAND royalty rates from the industry.”
Plaintiffs further alleged that, “For years, Apple has been highly vocal in its public attacks against the essential patent licensing practices of Ericsson and other patent owners. Apple has asserted that licensing practices violate FRAND if they are not in accord with Apple’s self-proclaimed and highly publicized FRAND licensing principles (many of which have been expressly rejected by courts and by the industry). Apple has also publicly committed to not accept licensing offers that deviate from Apple’s self-proclaimed principles.”
Plaintiffs also alleged that, “In sum, even before the first licensing meeting between Apple and Ericsson, Apple had already publicly proclaimed Ericsson’s licensing program as discriminatory, Ericsson’s rates as violating FRAND, and had publicly committed that Apple would only license essential patents on its own, self-proclaimed terms and conditions intended to devalue essential patents.” “Apple has publicly disputed whether Ericsson is prepared to grant licenses on FRAND terms to its Essential Patents.”
The only claim for relief laid down by Plaintiffs is for the declaratory judgment that Ericsson has complied with its FRAND commitment and the ETSI IPR policy. Plaintiffs alleged that, Ericsson is prepared to grant Apple a license on FRAND terms and conditions, that Ericsson’s announced rate (which is available for Apple to accept) complies with its FRAND commitment, that Ericsson otherwise has fully complied with its FRAND commitment and all applicable laws in its negotiations with Apple, and that Ericsson has complied with all obligations imposed by standard-setting organizations, including 3GPP and ETSI. Apple’s allegations of breach threaten Ericsson’s reputation and business.
In the prayer for relief, Plaintiffs requested the court to adjudge and declare that Ericsson has complied with its commitment to ETSI that it is prepared to grant licenses to its essential patents on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms and that Ericsson has complied with the ETSI IPR Policy in all respects, and all other applicable laws that would affect Ericsson’s prospective license to Apple. Plaintiffs further requested for an award of costs of this action, including attorneys’ fees and, all other relief, in law or equity, to which Ericsson is entitled.
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Pending - Other Pending
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Theodore Stevenson, III
Attorney at Alston & Bird LLP
2200 Ross Ave, Suite 2300
Dallas, TX 75201
Docket(#4) CORPORATE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT filed by Ericsson Inc., Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson identifying Corporate Parent None for Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson; Corporate Parent Ericsson Holding II Inc. for Ericsson Inc.. (Stevenson, Theodore) (Entered: 10/05/2021)Read MoreRead Less
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