Can you imagine that a company other than Apple, Google / Motorola, or Samsung could be involved in a patent battle? It seems like those are the ones who've been dominating the press so much lately, but Ericsson is making its own play in the U.S. market.
Ericsson has officially filed a request with the International Trade Commission to ban U.S. imports of Samsung products. The reason? Samsung allegedly infringes on Ericsson products. Of course, Ericsson has also filed a lawsuit which says as much.
"The request for an import ban is a part of the process. An import ban is not our goal. Our goal is that they (Samsung) sign license agreements on reasonable terms," Ericsson representative Fredrik Hallstan said.
The lawsuit is a result of Ericsson and Samsung not seeing eye to eye on exactly what constitutes FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) pricing over Ericsson's patents.
For its part, Samsung is saying that it is ready to defend itself against the lawsuit. Ericsson is allegedly asking for "prohibitively higher royalty rates to renew the same patent portfolio".
Lawsuits and the Price of Phones
Of course, how much money would consumers save if mobile device manufacturers didn't spend exorbitant amounts to legal teams in the battle for who gets what profit? Apple, always an easy example of patent craziness, spends more on patents than it does on research and development (CNET).
Why do those iPhones cost so much? Because court rooms are expensive.
And Apple is hardly the only one. Samsung is involved in multiple high-profile court battles, and Motorola is, too. Granted, they are not always initiating those battles, but they've started their fair share of fights, as well.
In the end, how much of what we're spending actually goes toward the phone and the ideas behind the technology? Before long, the bulk of the expense for phones on the market is going to be for successful lawsuits.