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Ericsson Hauls Apple To European Courts Over Royalty Payments Row

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Apple is once again being hauled to court over a patent dispute. This time it is Ericsson that has filed several lawsuits in Europe over global licensing pertaining to Ericsson technology being used in Apple products.

The suits, which were filed in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany, come after two years of talks between the two powerhouse tech companies and a move by Ericsson, a Swedish mobile telecom equipment player, to settle the dispute in arbitration.

At stake is a potential $240 million to $725 million in annual royalty patents, stated a report.

"Apple continues to profit from Ericsson's technology without having a valid license in place," said Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson's chief intellectual property officer, in an announcement released on Friday. "Our technology is used in many features and functionality of today's communication devices. We are confident the courts in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands will be able to help us resolve this matter in a fair manner."

At issue is 2G and 4G/LTE technology in the design of semiconductor parts and non-cellular wireless communications. Ericsson has stated the legal action is necessary to support its research and development and that it is seeking fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, or FRAND principles, regarding the patents.

It is the second legal complaint the telecom has filed against the iPhone maker. The initial legal strike took place in the U.S. courts in January.

Ericsson also took Samsung Electronics to court two years ago regarding a similar royalty patent dispute and won that legal battle last year. The South Korean smartphone maker and Ericsson actually settled before a court ruling, with Samsung paying Ericsson $650 million initially. The patent license deal reached will rake in billions for Ericsson, according to a report.

In a similar legal battle reported by Tech Times in February, Apple lost a patent case brought about by Smartflash regarding iTunes software and licensing fees.

Apple was ordered by a court to pay the Texas company $532.9 million after a federal jury determined that Apple illegally infringed on seven Smartflash patents tied to data storage, payment system management and digital rights management technology. Smartflash had been seeking $852 million in damages.

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