Samsung files with ITC to ban U.S. imports of Ericsson's 5G base stations

Samsung files with ITC to ban U.S. imports of Ericsson's 5G base stations
According to Bloomberg, Samsung on Thursday filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) demanding that U.S. imports of Ericsson's 5G base stations be blocked. Just the week before, Ericsson had filed its own case with the ITC seeking to block U.S. imports of Samsung phones, tablets and televisions. At the heart of this matter is a battle over a patent-licensing agreement that needs to be renewed. Cases are often filed with the ITC because at an average of 15 months, final decisions are reached more quickly.

Sammy's argument is that Ericsson's base stations, which connect mobile phone users to a network, employ equipment patented by Samsung. Both companies are arguing over whether a court in Texas or one in Wuhan will decide the royalties paid by Samsung for using Ericsson's 4G and 5G inventions covered by the standard-essential patents. The latter are patents that a manufacturer must license in order for a product to comply with a technical standard. Rates charged for using these patents must be determined on a Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis.

Both companies have patents that the other one needs. Ericsson says that on balance it is owed money because it has more telecom patents than Samsung and the latter has more devices that require the licensing of Ericsson's patents. If both firms can't reach an agreement on a new licensing pact, Ericsson could end up taking something of a hit to its bottom line. After all, Samsung is the world's largest shipper of smartphones.

Samsung says that it is unfair to allow Ericsson to use its patents since the latter does business in the states and Samsung has yet to establish its base station business in the U.S. Ericsson filed a new lawsuit against Samsung on January 1st and Samsung filed a patent infringement suit against Ericsson in response. Ericsson spokeswoman Mikaela Idermark said the company is aware of Samsung's new complaint and "will fully review what has been filed before deciding on any further comment."

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