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Ericsson asks for unlikely ITC import ban on raft of Samsung stuff

Mob of pygmies hacking at Korean giant's shins grows

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Ericsson has asked for a ban on Samsung imports to the USA, following last week's patent filing which claimed just about every Samsung device with a radio was infringing.

The legal case, filed in the ever-popular Eastern District of Texas, is based on patents which, according to Ericsson, Samsung licensed in 2001 and 2007, but now refuses to pay for. While that case gets into gear Ericsson has applied to the International Trade Commission for a ban on US imports of the Samsung Galaxy, Note, Nexus and assorted kit including Blu-Ray players and TVs.

The patents those devices are alleged to infringe are all covered by FRAND deals; incorporated into radio standards on the condition that the owner licence them out at a fair rate, the breakdown is (of course) in what constitutes "fair and reasonable".

Patent-court lurker Florian Mueller reckons that makes this case relevant to Apple's dispute with Samsung. That ongoing dispute revolves around Apple's assertion that FRAND rates should be low: a view with which Samsung seems to agree when talking to Ericsson, but disputes when in court with Apple.

Asking the ITC to ban imports of patent-infringing products is standard practice these days, as such a ban can clarify the mind wonderfully when negotiating licences. The ITC rarely goes that far so in this instance the request is more optimistic punt than legal strategy, something to wave at Samsung in the hope of an early settlement. ®

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