It’s business as usual for telecom companies this month, which means another round of patent lawsuits. First up are Apple and LG Electronics who are being sued by Multimedia Patent Trust, a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent, over alleged infringement of three patents regarding video technology. All of Apple’s products which use QuickTime technology (including the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, MacBook, and iMacs) are being targeted by the lawsuit, along with nine of LG’s phones with built-in video software. Trial begins this week in San Diego, California as Multimedia Patent Trust seeks to get damages and royalties from the defendants.
Meanwhile, Nokia has filed suit against Research in Motion, the makers of Blackberry phones, for violating a patent covering wireless local access network (or WLAN) technology. The two companies signed an agreement that was extended in 2008. RIM claims this agreement covers the technology in question. Nokia, however, disagrees. An arbitrator in Stockholm sided with Nokia and the company has filed suit in the U.S. to enforce the ruling. They are, of course, seeking damages and royalties.
If that wasn’t enough, then Ericsson has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The patents (described in vague terms by the company as technology essential to telecom and networking standards, as well as patents frequently implemented in mobile devices) were licensed by Samsung in 2001 and renewed in 2007; however, Ericsson has said the agreement has now expired and Samsung refuses to renew it. Samsung’s response? That Ericsson is unfairly demanding significantly higher royalty rates for the same patents. Hopefully these suits will be resolved quickly, so the telecom companies can take a break from suing others for using their patents and try using them themselves.