Apple sued in the UK over use of critical iPhone feature

Apple and Ericsson have failed to reach a deal over the use of 5G patents.

What you need to know

  • Ericsson is waging a legal war against Apple.
  • The company has filed suit in the UK over its use of 5G patents.
  • It’s the latest arena in an ongoing dispute about the technology.

Ericsson has filed yet more lawsuits against Apple over the use of 5G patents, this time in the UK.

As reported by patent litigation expert Florian Mueller on Monday:

UK court records show a couple of Ericsson v. Apple filings: on June 6, Ericsson–represented by the law firm of Taylor Wessing, which has offices in numerous European countries (and beyond Europe)–filed with the High Court of Justice for England & Wales (still frequently referred to as the “EWHC”)

The dispute pertains to the use of patents that cover 5G connectivity in devices like Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. 5G has been one of the best iPhone upgrades in recent years, allowing faster browsing, downloads, and data consumption for users in covered areas. However, Apple gets its 5G tech from patents owned by Ericsson. Until recently, Apple had a licensing deal over 3G and 4G with the company, however when this expired the company failed to reach a deal on a fresh licensing agreement that included 5G.

Ericsson has now filed suit in six different locations, with the battle in the U.S. at least headed for trial next year. Ericsson isn’t seeking any kind of ban or injunction against Apple, so there is no danger that Apple might be forced to stop selling any of its products, or any impending impact on consumers or indeed the future release of the iPhone 14. However, a favorable outcome for Ericsson could see the company paid a massive sum for the licensing, a figure floated between the two last year was around $5 per unit, a massive sum when you consider how many 5G capable iPhones Apple is now shipping each year.

Apple is expected to bring some major upgrades to the iPhone 14 later this year, including a 48MP camera, an upgraded processor to the ‘Pro’ models, and a new regular ‘Max’ version of its iPhone to replace the ailing ‘mini’ model in its lineup. Both the Max and Pro Max models of the phone are thought to be dealing with supply constraints and pressures that could see both limited in availability at launch.

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