Friday, May 7, 2021

Ericsson to receive patent royalties from Samsung again after settlement of global dispute

This morning, Ericsson announced a settlement and new multi-year patent license agreement with Samsung. This was actually the first major 5G patent dispute, and after filings in multiple jurisdictions it could have reached Apple-Samsung proportions. But the parties put this behind them.

The previous cross-license agreement had expired four months ago. As a result, Ericsson's licensing revenues temporarily took a hit, and today's press release notes that they "continue to be affected by several factors, mainly expired patent license agreements pending renewal, geopolitical impact on the handset market, technology shift from 4G to 5G, and possible currency effects going forward." The "geopolitical" part must relate to Huawei.

Ericsson's IP chief Christina Petersson is quoted as saying that "[t]his important deal confirms the value of [Ericsson's] patent portfolio and further illustrates Ericsson's commitment to FRAND principles." This suggests that the net payments Ericsson receives under the agreement are substantial. Publicly traded companies must be cautious about forward-looking statements, but Ericsson does express confidence in "growing its IPR revenues long term, thereby further maximizing the value of the overall patent portfolio."

What I've heard from industry players is that there's far more respect for Ericsson's R&D activities than for Nokia's. Some people say that Nokia is more about opportunistic patenting around standardization, while Ericsson does invest heavily in "real" R&D.

As a result of this settlement, all pending litigation is withdrawn, which also includes an anti-antisuit matter before the Federal Circuit that would have been heard in about a month from today. But it's just a matter of time until the Federal Circuit gets to hear an antisuit case.

Share with other professionals via LinkedIn: