Why are Ericsson and Apple fighting over 5G technology?


Sweden’s Ericsson has filed another set of patent infringement lawsuits against Apple in the two companies’ latest struggle over compensation for the use of 5G wireless patents in iPhones.

Both companies have already sued each other in the United States where negotiations to renew a seven-year license contract for telecom patents first signed in 2015.

Ericsson first sued in October alleging that Apple was trying to improperly lower compensation rates while iPhone filed a lawsuit in December accusing the Swedish company of using “strong arm tactics” to renew patents.

“Since the previous agreement expired, and we were unable to reach agreement on the terms and scope of the new license, Apple is now using our technology without a license,” an Ericsson spokesperson said. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Patent lawsuits are so common among tech companies that every dollar saved can run into huge sums over the life of the agreement, with companies like Ericsson charging between $2.5 to $5 per 5G phone.

The Swedish company invests about $5 billion annually in research, has a portfolio of more than 57,000 patents, and royalties from the patent portfolio represent about a third of its operating profit.


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