4 January 2016

Ericsson and Apple sign global patent licence agreement and settle litigation

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek has assisted Ericsson, one of the leading companies in telecommunications and owner of one of the industry's strongest IP portfolios (which includes more than 37,000 patents granted worldwide), in resolving its dispute with Apple over a global FRAND licence for Ericsson's standard essential mobile technology patents.

For more than two years, Ericsson had been trying to reach an agreement with Apple, but to no avail. To help resolve the matter fairly, Ericsson filed multiple patent infringement suits in May 2015 in the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom against Apple's products. These proceedings referred to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards, as well as other technology that is not standardised, but is related to, for instance, the design of semi-conductor components and non-cellular wireless communication.

On 21 December 2015 Ericsson announced that it signed a 7-year global patent licence deal with Apple. The deal ends all ongoing patent infringement claims between the parties, which was one of the largest legal battles in mobile technology. UBS analysts said in a research note they believed the deal meant a catch-up payment for Ericsson of approximately EUR 391 million, including a one-off sum of approximately EUR 54 million, covering items such as legal fees. UBS estimated the agreement would boost Ericsson's operating profit by 13 percent in 2015 and 10 percent in 2016, providing approximately EUR 84 million per quarter in licensing fees. Upon announcement of the deal, Ericsson's shares were sent up as much as 8 percent.

De Brauw represented Ericsson in the Dutch part of the dispute, in which De Brauw, on behalf of Ericsson, initiated several separate proceedings on the merits. De Brauw, together with the other firms involved, also advised Ericsson on the competition (FRAND) aspects of the matter and the overall European litigation strategy. The team was led by Gertjan Kuipers and Oscar Lamme.

Gertjan Kuipers (lead partner), Oscar Lamme, Selmer Bergsma, Bart de Rijke, Jan Kostijn Dieben, Chris Noordam, and Lodewijk Pessers