Swiss telecommunications equipment giant Ericsson has filed suit against leading mobile device manufacturer Samsung, alleging 24 separate instances of hardware and software patent infringement. Ericsson executives labeled it an action of "last resort," in an interview with The New York Times, suggesting that licensing negotiations regarding wireless industry-standard patents had reached an impasse.
The vast majority of smartphone and tablet manufacturers owe a debt of gratitude to Ericsson, the Times noted, as the Swiss company's patent portfolio contains a broad range of foundational technologies related to wireless networking. Samsung had been a licensing partner until this year, but negotiations for renewal have been stalled by speculation that each side is attempting to falsely manipulate royalty values.
According to the Times, Ericsson has accused Samsung of keeping its own industry-standard patents off the market in an attempt to drive down the amount of money Ericsson could charge as sole provider of a certain technology. Meanwhile, Samsung insists the matter hinges on their former partner's inability to negotiate fair and reasonable terms.
While such disagreements have become a common occurrence within the industry, it could place Samsung in a precarious position. As Forbes pointed out, it appears as though the company will have to argue in favor of lowering standards-essential royalty rates in the Ericsson case while simultaneously arguing against lowering its own rates in separate litigation with Apple.