Apple and Ericsson settle patent dispute just in time for Christmas

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Apple raked in the cash last quarter.
Finally Ericsson execs will be able to afford Christmas presents.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

It’s nearly Christmas: the time of mince pies, good cheer, and, apparently, settling patent disputes with the potential to cost you hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

With that in mind, Apple has agreed a patent licensing deal with Swedish telecom company Ericsson, ending a dispute in which Ericsson was accused by Apple of engaging in, “abusive licensing practices.”

First ‘mobile’ phones were a lot of junk in the trunk

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The first mobile phones were car phones. Call quality was superb (if you could get a channel).
The first mobile phones were car phones. Call quality was superb (if you could get a channel).
Photo courtesy Geoff Fors

When Lars Magnus Ericsson installed a telephone in his car, he proved you could communicate from the road. But while the first mobile phone was indeed mobile, it was anything but simple to use.

Ericsson drove around Sweden and, when it was time to place a call, he would pull off to the side of the road next to telephone poles. Then his wife, Hilda, would take out two long sticks and hook them over a pair of telephone wires. Ericsson would then crank a handle on the phone to get a signal from the operator.

Pretty slick for 1910.

Ericsson takes lawsuit against Apple to Europe, wants up to $725 million per year

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Apple raked in the cash last quarter.
Apple could be about to hand over a whole lot of cash. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Claiming that Apple is infringing on several of its patents, Ericsson has ramped up its legal efforts against the company by expanding lawsuits to cover Germany, Britain and the Netherlands.

“Apple continues to profit from Ericsson’s technology without having a valid license in place,” said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, adding that he is confident the courts will resolve the matter fairly.

Apple faces investigation by International Trade Commission

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Ericsson wants to stop Apple selling iPhones in the United States. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Ericsson wants to stop Apple selling iPhones in the United States. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Apple-Ericsson confrontation continues to heat up. The U.S. International Trade Commission says it will investigate Apple, based on two complaints alleging that Cupertino illegally infringed on Ericsson patents.

Ericsson previously asked the ITC to block Apple products, such as the iPhone, from selling in the United States while the case is being investigated.

Ericsson wants to block Apple from selling iPhones in the U.S.

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Apple is heading toward a $1 trillion market cap. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC
There's plenty of money at stake in the Ericsson/Apple clash. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

In one to file under “N” for “Never happening,” mobile phone company Ericsson has filed seven new lawsuits asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to block Apple products, such as the iPhone, from selling in the United States.

The lawsuits allege that Apple is infringing on up to 41 patents, related to user interfaces, battery saving, and operating systems. Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson’s chief intellectual property officer, claims that the company has offered Apple a license for the technology, but has been turned down.