Swedish telecommunications firm Ericsson is suing French smartphone manufacturer Wiko over patent infringements, it said in a statement released on Thursday. Proceedings were initiated in the courts of Duesseldorf and Mannheim for infringement of patents essential to 2G, 3G and 4G cellular technology.
"Wiko has been infringing Ericsson's intellectual property rights for six years without any license or compensation," the company said in a statement. “Ericsson has tried to establish a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) license agreement with Wiko since May 2013, but has not succeeded."
"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," Chief Intellectual Property Officer Gustav Brismark added. “It is unfair for Wiko to benefit from our substantial R&D investment without paying a reasonable license fee for our patented technology.”
Wiko have yet to publicly respond to the news.
Ericsson and other mobile operators are embarking on R&D initiatives to develop 5G technology, the next evolution in mobile networks. The ‘Global Smartphone Market 2017-2021’ research report discusses the upcoming possibilities with 5G. It says:
“While the launch of 5G is 3-4 years away, it is being viewed by smartphone vendors as the technology that will get more people to use the Internet for daily tasks. 5G will be capable of delivering up to 100 times the speed customers are currently getting with 4G LTE, which is up to 1 Gbps in an ideal situation. It will also be capable of accommodating many more devices that are expected to connect to networks due to the expansion of the Internet of Things. Accordingly, smartphone manufacturers have started conducting research on the network technology and are preparing phones for 2020, when 5G is expected to debut.”
This comes at a difficult time for the Stockholm-based company. In separate news today, Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported that Ericsson may be forced to lay off around 25,000 employees. The company currently has around 109,000 employees.
In July, Ericsson said it aimed to reach an annual cost reduction run rate of at least $1.2 billion by mid-2018.
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