Apple and Ericsson have spent the last several months in a patent dispute regarding Apple’s use of the Ericsson-owned technologies that allow the iPad and the iPhone to connect to mobile networks, but this morning, the dispute came to a peaceful conclusion when the two companies decided to settle things outside of the court. The specific terms of the deal are still a secret, but we do know that Apple will pay an initial amount to Ericsson, as well as royalties on all future iPad and iPhone sales. The two companies will also begin collaborating on future telecommunication technologies.
Apple has agreed to pay Ericsson royalties on the wireless devices it sells in settlement of a long-standing patent dispute. Ericsson owns patents that it considers essential to the implementation of a number of mobile communications standards, including GSM, the 3G standard UMTS and LTE, used in 4G networks. While it has licensing agreements with other manufacturers of devices operating on these networks, a deal with Apple expired at the start of this year. When negotiations to renew that deal broke down, Apple and Ericsson sued one another in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Apple claiming that it did not infringe one of the key patents at issue, and Ericsson that Apple owed it for licenses for its entire standards-essential patent portfolio. Six weeks later, Ericsson returned to the Texas court with seven new lawsuits, and filed two others with the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging that Apple infringed its patents on 2G, 3G and 4G network technologies. It asked the courts to block sales of the iPhone and iPad until Apple paid up. Now the two companies have called a truce, signing a global cross-license agreement for patented standards-essential technologies, they said Monday.