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Apple Launches Standard Essential Patent (SEP) Counterclaim in Ericsson’s Legal Battle

Apple and Ericsson are in the midst of a court battle over 5G patents, with Ericsson accusing Apple of infringing on its intellectual property. However, in an effort to get a head start on Ericsson, Apple is now launching its first standard-essential patent lawsuit. Following Colombia’s ban on 5G-equipped iPhones and iPads, Apple has hit back at Ericsson in a 5G patent infringement dispute, filing its first lawsuit over patents it claims should be considered standard and essential.

The litigation took place in Munich, where Apple filed a standard-essential patent on 4G technology against Ericsson equipped with 4G LTE hardware. While it is unclear whether Apple will seek an injunction in this particular case, this marks an important tactical change for the company in the area of patent litigation.

Apple’s application is based on a patent for “virtualized network function management,” according to FOSS Patents. The patent was originally filed by Intel as part of the iPhone maker’s $1 billion acquisition of Intel’s modem business in 2019, and was subsequently transferred to Apple, including more than 17,000 patents for wireless technologies.

A standard-essential patent is one that is needed to comply with a technical standard and therefore must be licensed by others or face a single case of being sued for royalties. While Apple has typically been the subject of litigation involving SEPs over the years, this appears to be the first time Apple has asserted its SEP in a filing.

While Ericsson’s main grievance against Apple is about 5G patents, Apple’s SEP is for 4G LTE, another communications technology used in Ericsson’s products.

The First District Court of Munich set the first hearing in Case No. 21 O 1970/22 for February 15, 2023, before Judge Dr. Georg Werner in the 21st Civil Division. This will be followed on March 1 by a hearing on another Apple-Ericsson counterclaim involving Apple’s non-SEP patent for “apparatus, systems and methods for wireless backhaul and access communications by means of a common antenna strategy.

The move is the latest in a long and wide-ranging patent infringement battle between the two companies, with a series of actions including multiple lawsuits in Europe and the United Kingdom, activities before the U.S. International Trade Commission, and Ericsson’s action against Brazilian distributors of Apple products.

Ericsson also succeeded in obtaining an injunction in Colombia to prevent the import, sale and advertising of any 5G-equipped iPhone or iPad.

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Threza Gabriel
Threza Gabrielhttps://www.techgoing.com
Threza Gabriel is a news writer at TechGoing. TechGoing is a global tech media to brings you the latest technology stories, including smartphones, electric vehicles, smart home devices, gaming, wearable gadgets, and all tech trending.

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