03.23.18

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Ericsson, Acting Directly Rather Than Via the Patent Trolls It Habitually Uses, in a Patent War Against Linux/Android

Posted in America, Europe, LG, Patents at 12:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last year: Ericsson Hired From the World’s Largest Patent Troll and Became a Massive Troll in Europe

Ericsson troll

Summary: LG is the latest company to be sued by Ericsson, which doesn’t just harass the competition (which actually sells something) through patent trolls but also directly, having won a case in the notorious Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED)

TECHRIGHTS has been watching Ericsson closely for a number of years. Like Nokia, another former giant from Scandinavia, Ericsson is nowadays feeding patent trolls and suing companies that distribute Linux in various forms (including but not limited to Android). There are other connections to patent trolls which make Nokia and Ericsson two of the biggest culprits in Europe. Nokia’s gleeful and shameless promotion of software patents (about one decade ago) grabbed our attention and its lobbying on patent policy always disturbed us, more so after Microsoft/Elop got involved, accelerating Nokia’s patent aggression, including aggression against Linux.

IAM, which habitually grooms Ericsson and its patent trolls (as recently as a couple of days ago), says that Ericsson is still going after South Korea-based companies that distribute Linux, citing the TCL case. Yesterday it wrote:

Ericsson filed a lawsuit against LG Electronics in US district court earlier this week in what could be the first courtroom test of the its patent portfolio since it was on the receiving end of a damaging verdict late last year in an SEP FRAND dispute with Chinese handset manufacturer TCL. The Swedish telecoms giant has asked the court for a declaration that its actions in pursuing a licence with LG comply with FRAND and an additional ruling that the Korean company has breached its own FRAND obligations. Ericsson has also accused the handset manufacturer of infringing one patent (no. 6,633,550).

The above TCL lawsuit was also mentioned yesterday by the Docket Navigator, showing that Ericsson had been suing in Texas (TXED) with dodgy patents while relying on dodgy “experts”. To quote:

Following a jury verdict of $75 million, the court granted defendant’s motion for new damages trial because the application of plaintiff’s survey expert’s results by plaintiff’s damages expert was unreliable.

The above is a pretty big deal because it impacts SEP and FRAND caselaw, it shows the sort of thing that caused LG to exit the Chinese market, and it generally emboldens patent trolls and their lobby (like IAM) to initiate more lawsuits. This kind of litigation culture is seen as a safety net or insurance/welfare for companies which became irrelevant. The end result isn’t innovation but overpriced (artificially-inflated prices) devices and those who suffer the most are customers. What’s also noteworthy is that many of the said patents are software patents, but they’re bundled together (as per, e.g., SEP thickets) in order to discourage legal challenge of pertinent patents.

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