Ericsson sues Apple over licence payments

Apple watch Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many Apple products are believed to use the Ericsson technologies

Ericsson has filed lawsuits in three separate countries, alleging Apple has not kept up with technology licence payments.

The Swedish telecoms equipment maker said Apple was still using Ericsson's patented technologies even though it did not have a licence to use them.

Ericsson said it had offered to conduct arbitration talks with Apple but that offer had now expired.

The lawsuits have been filed in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

Apple has yet to comment on the legal action.

"Our technology is used in many features and functionality of today's communication devices," said Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson's head of intellectual property in a statement. He said the dispute had already been going on for two years and was "confident" the courts would help resolve the matter "fairly".

The dispute revolves around technologies Ericsson developed for second and fourth generation mobile networks and handsets. The patents in dispute are believed to cover accessing apps on phones, the streaming of video to handheld devices as well as chip design. Ericsson owns more than 35,000 patents covering mobile technologies.

The latest legal action follows the filing of lawsuits in America in February by Ericsson in response to an Apple complaint over the complexity of the technology patents.

In 2014, phone maker Samsung paid Ericsson $650m (£421m) to end a dispute over patented technology.

Analysts estimate that if the courts side with Ericsson it would get payments of up to $725m annually from Apple.

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