US ITC to hear Ericsson patent complaint against Samsung in August

STOCKHOLM Mon Feb 4, 2013 4:06pm EST

STOCKHOLM Feb 4 (Reuters) - A complaint brought by Ericsson that accuses South Korea's Samsung of infringing patents used in wireless and consumer electronics will be heard in August by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Swedish maker of telecommunications equipment said on Monday.

The complaint seeks to block Samsung from importing certain products into the United States.

"The ITC have a trial date which is in the middle of August," Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, told Reuters. The court has set aside a week from Aug. 13 to Aug. 20 to hear the case, Ericsson said.

Samsung hit back, also filing suit with the ITC.

Separately, Ericsson had filed two patent lawsuits in the United States in November last year saying Samsung infringed telecommunications and networking standard patents on technology used in wireless and consumer electronics products.

In recent years, cut-throat competition in the telecommunications industry has spawned tit-for-tat battles as leading players look to intellectual property rights as a means to boost revenue and hold on to market share.

Ericsson is among those seeking to boost income from its patent portfolio, though it insists it is willing to licence all its technology on fair and reasonable terms.

Alfalahi would not say what level of damages Ericsson is seeking, but said Ericsson's policy was to license its products on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms - known as FRAND in the industry.

Ericsson's actions follow a spate of high profile cases in the United States with tech companies suing each other.

One lawsuit by Apple relating to patents resulted in a $1.05 billion jury verdict in August against Samsung, the world's largest cellphone and television maker.

Telecommunications is a particularly litigious industry, not just because of the billions involved, but because the industry relies on shared standards to allow devices to communicate.

That means that companies need to licence technology from each other and cannot go it alone with products.

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