Ericsson launches "last resort" legal action against Wiko over patents

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Ericsson has taken smartphone manufacturer Wiko to court in Germany over what it claims is infringement of 2G, 3G and LTE cellular technology patents.

It said the French company has been infringing its intellectual property rights for the past six years and has avoided attempts since May 2013 by Ericsson to establish a licence agreement under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

The Sweden-based vendor added it had launched legal action, which will be heard in the German regional courts of Düsseldorf and Mannheim, as a "last resort".

Gustav Brismark, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson, said: “Global sharing of technology and open standards are the force behind the smartphone revolution and have allowed new entrants, such as Wiko, to quickly build successful businesses.

"This ICT ecosystem only works, however, if all market players respect the basic rules of FRAND licensing. It is unfair for Wiko to benefit from our substantial R&D investment without paying a reasonable license fee for our patented technology.

"Our ambition has always been to reach a mutually fair and reasonable license agreement with Wiko, just as we do with all of our licensees.”

Ericsson has granted more than 42,000 patents worldwide, spanning 2G, 3G and LTE technologies.

This year has seen several patent rows rumble through courts worldwide, most notably between Qualcomm and Apple.

Last week US regulator the International Trade Commission announced it was looking into whether the iPhone maker has been infringing Qualcomm's patents.

Qualcomm is seeking a ban on the importing, sale and marketing of related products, such as the iPhone 7.

In May, Apple settled a long-running patent dispute with Nokia, with the latter agreeing to provide infrastructure and services to the Cupertino-based company.