Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson won’t hesitate to take strong legal steps to enforce its rights to protect intellectual properties in the country if resolution talks fail, a top official said, few months after reaching a global patent licence deal with Indian handset maker Micromax.
“It (resolving patent issues) is very important for the whole industry. We try to resolve this by negotiation. That is clearly our preferred way, but we are always ready to enforce our rights on matters necessary,” Gustav Brismark, head of IPR and Licensing at Ericsson, told ET.
The gear vendor has been involved in several legal cases around Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement related to standard essential patents (SEPs) across the globe, including in India, against many smartphone manufacturing companies, claiming patent rights over some of the components which are part of their devices.
In India, the legal war over SEPs started with a complaint filed by Ericsson in 2011 against the import of handsets by Kingtech Electronics (India), followed by similar suits against domestic players such as Micromax, Lava, Intex, and also Chinese brands such as Gionee and Xiaomi.
In January, Micromax ended a five-year long legal battle with Ericsson by taking a global patent licence from Ericsson, under which it will pay royalties to the Swedish telecom gear maker on every phone it sells in India and overseas that uses 2G or 3G technology.
“We have recently settled one of the cases with Micromax. So, we feel that is also a very important step forward. We are optimistic that we will solve this in a good manner, so we can all move on and focus on innovation together,” Brismark said, adding that the company was happy at the way its IPR case was handled by the court in India.
The executive said that India needs to have a strong patent system to help support new innovative companies in India transform into big enterprises.
“The policymakers need to think long term, and should support R&D investments in India. The main objective of the policy makers is to create a good environment in in India,” he said.
With 5G and inter-connectivity growing, the executive said that there will be many opportunities, especially in a country like India to come up with innovations that are specific for the country.
Last year, Ericsson’s roughly 30% of the overall patent filings were related to the 5G technology. “We have declared close to 1000 patents as being essential to 5G. That is also taking into account that 5G is built on previous generations. In part, 5G reuses some of the solutions that were already built in 4G,” he said.