Patent royalties are a fact of life in the mobile industry, with direct competitors often paying each other to use the technology that powers our smartphones and other devices. Most of the time the entire thing stays pretty civil, but this week Apple is stepping away from what it claims are excessively high royalties on Ericsson’s LTE patents.
Reuters reports that the iPhone-maker has sued Ericsson, claiming it shouldn’t have to pay for the Swedish firm’s patents. If Apple wins it could be cleared of any royalty costs, though Cupertino’s goal seems to be simply mitigating these payments. The company argues that it should pay based on the value of the specific chips using Ericsson’s technology, rather than a percentage of each entire mobile device sold.
“We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights to standards essential patents covering technology in our products,” Apple told Reuters. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to agree with Ericsson on a fair rate for their patents so, as a last resort, we are asking the courts for help.”
Apple’s initial agreement with Ericsson dates back to 2008, not long after the first iPhone launched. Now, seven years later, Cupertino may have the leverage it needs to secure a better deal.