Wednesday, December 26, 2012

These are Samsung's seven patents-in-suit against Ericsson: the emphasis is on 4G/LTE

On Monday this blog was first to report on Samsung's ITC countercomplaint against Ericsson, a post that was picked up by Reuters and other high-profile media. Meanwhile I've been able to download a copy of Samsung's complaint and can provide more information on the patents-in-suit and the products and technologies at issue.

Samsung is asserting seven patents, none of which has previously been asserted anywhere (court or trade agency), even including the international counterparts of those patents.

These are the seven patents-in-suit:

  1. U.S. Patent No. 7,782,749 on a "method for mapping physical downlink control channel to resources and apparatus for transmitting/receiving the mapped physical downlink control channel in a wireless communication system"

  2. U.S. Patent No, 8,165,081 on "control and data multiplexing in communication systems"

  3. U.S. Patent No. 8,208,438 on a "method and apparatus for allocating resources of a control channel in a mobile communication system using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing"

  4. U.S. Patent No. 8,228,827 on a "method and apparatus for detecting contention during random access procedure in a mobile communication system"

  5. U.S. Patent No, 6,617,929 on a "full output matching apparatus of a microwave doherty amplifier"

  6. U.S. Patent No, 6,767,813 on an "integrated circuit devices having active regions with expanded effective widths and methods of manufacturing same"

  7. U.S. Patent No. 6,865,682 on a "microprocessor module with integrated voltage regulators"

Samsung is asserting these products against "wireless communications systems and equipment used in those systems, such as wireless communication base stations", and clarifies that "[t]he technologies at issue relate to wireless communications base stations for use with LTE applications and including certain Doherty amplifiers, semiconductors, and/or microprocessor modules or components".

The '749, '081, '438 and '827 appear to have been declared essential to LTE. Samsung's infringement allegations are LTE-based and the complaint makes reference to Samsung's ETSI (European Telecommunication Standards Institute) disclosures. In connection with two other patents ('929 and '682), LTE is also mentioned but without any reference to Samsung's ETSI disclosures, suggesting that Samsung does not consider them standard-essential. The '813 patent is asserted against Ericsson products having an "integrated circuit device having active regions with expanded effective widths", and this does not appear to be standard-specific.

In an effort to satisfy the ITC's domestic industry requirement, Samsung points to the fact that it "has sold or sells in the United States base stations, including LTE base stations sold to MetroPCS and Sprint ('eNodeB')", which is another example of Samsung competing with Ericsson in its core business, as well as "mobile stations, including [...] Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, [...] Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 7.7, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, [...] Galaxy S III and the Verizon Mobile Hotspot LTE".

In a public statement on this ITC complaint, Samsung claimed to have "sought to negotiate with Ericsson in good faith". Conversely, one of Ericsson's federal lawsuits alleges that Samsung breached its FRAND licensing pledge. Without more information on the companies' positions and their mutual allegations, I don't have an opinion on who's right or wrong. Let's wait and see what information surfaces as this dispute unfolds (and before it gets settled, which it will without a doubt).

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