Monday, January 27, 2014

Ericsson receives nine-figure royalties under global settlement of Samsung patent dispute

This morning Ericsson announced the settlement of its patent dispute with Samsung. The Swedish company also announced that "[t]he initial payment in the agreement will impact Ericsson sales and net income in Q4 2013 by SEK 4.2 b. [$650 million] and SEK 3.3 b. [$500 million]", suggesting that Ericsson will earn billions of dollars over the years.

The settlement comes shortly before the initial determinations on the parties' ITC complaints against each other would have been due. Ericsson claims this license deal "illustrates [its] commitment to FRAND principles". The dispute with Ericsson complicated Samsung's assertions of FRAND-pledged standard-essential patents against Apple because Samsung raised some Apple-like arguments in its defense against Ericsson's assertions. At the same time, Ericsson's SEP assertions are being investigated by the Competition Commission of India in two parallel cases. Both Samsung and Ericsson had to put an end to this dispute because any attempt to enforce an ITC import ban over a FRAND-pledged SEP could have had far-reaching implications.

Earlier today Samsung and Google announced a cross-license agreement covering all of their current patents and any patents they will obtain over the next ten years. The Ericsson-Samsung settlement is more significant because it settles actual litigation pending before the ITC and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, because these companies aren't allies, and because serious money is changing hands.

Ericsson will receive additional patent royalties from Samsung whenever the latter settles its dispute with the Rockstar Consortium, which Huawei (one of the companies sued by Rockstar) just did. Ericsson is one of Rockstar's owners.

If you'd like to be updated on the smartphone patent disputes and other intellectual property matters I cover, please subscribe to my RSS feed (in the right-hand column) and/or follow me on Twitter @FOSSpatents and Google+.

Share with other professionals via LinkedIn: