In the latest bizarre twist in the patent infringement battle between Apple and Ericsson, the Cupertino company has responded to Colombia’s iPhone ban by claiming that its human rights have been violated.
The company requested emergency relief in Colombia just days after it was warned by a US judge not to abuse the court system there by filing emergency applications for non-emergency cases.
The executive summary is that 5G iPhones and iPads use patented technology proprietary to Ericsson. Apple has licensed this technology, but they are not satisfied with the amount being charged for this license, so they stop paying.
This means that the company is currently infringing Ericsson’s patents, and the Swedish company is seeking to ban the iPhone in a number of countries – that is, issuing orders against the import and sale of 5G-enabled iPhones and iPads.
Ericsson managed to get his first in Colombia. The court ordered a halt to all iPhone sales in the country, and required Apple to ensure that its sellers are aware of the ban.
Apple responded by filing an emergency application in the Eastern District of Texas in an effort to obtain compensation from Ericsson for its losses in Columbia. It also filed various counterclaims against Ericsson.
If you want to understand the background in more detail, we’ve summarized it here.
Judge warns Apple not to abuse court process
as such Patents It reported that a Texas judge denied Apple’s request — but also warned the company for abusing the emergency request process on a non-emergency matter.
Judge Gilstrap does not believe that this constitutes “imminent and irreparable harm” to Apple and that as a result of enforcement action in other jurisdictions it may have to sit down and negotiate a license with Ericsson. The Texas FRAND case will go to trial in December, and no later than September, Apple and Ericsson must engage in formal mediation. […]
There is also a procedural problem. Apple was supposed to offer a regular motion instead of a file Emergency a movement. “Emergency motions should only be made in truly extenuating circumstances and should not be used as a means of securing an expedited summary schedule and court hearing,” Justice Gilstrap explains, and “finds that Apple has abused and misapplied the emergency rules to practice motion in this court.”
The judge told Apple’s lawyers that if they did the same thing again, he wouldn’t be happy.
Moreover, such behavior will warrant, and likely result in, penalties against [Apple]. “
Apple says banning the iPhone is a violation of human rights
Undeterred by a US judge’s warning of court process abuse, Apple has taken a truly unusual step in Colombia. Patents repeatedly:
Apple spares no effort in its efforts to overturn Ericsson’s Colombian order for the iPhone/iPad over a Standard Essential Patent (SEP) for 5G, and now accuses Ericsson, its lawyers, and the court that ordered the injunction of violating basic human rights, invoking even Art. 8 of the famous Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Wondering what the next voting rights are for iPhones?
Apple is seeking emergency relief against each involved party.
- Her Colombian law firm (OlarteMoure)
- Carlos R. Olarte (Name Partner of that firm and Principal Consultant to Ericsson)
- Civil Court No. 43 of the Bogota District
Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Everyone has the right to resort to the national courts for effective redress for actions that violate the fundamental rights granted to him by the constitution or by law.
Patent expert Florian Müller is unimpressed by Apple’s theory that this applies in this case.
Obviously, this does not mean that every time you disagree with a judge, this article applies […]
No one left an Apple CEO naked in Colombia, or took a blood sample without permission. By extension, Art. 8 UDHR “also covers your right to develop your personal identity and to form friendships and other relationships. This includes the right to participate in basic economicsocial, cultural and recreational activities.” (emphasis added)
However, the unauthorized use of patents is not an “essential economic activity” protected by the article. 8.
Apple is particularly annoyed that Ericsson’s lawyers have written to Apple’s retailers, ensuring they are aware of the ban on the sale of iPhones — an interesting objection given that Apple’s lawyers did exactly the same thing in a dispute over the sale of iPhones, Mueller notes. Patents with Samsung.
The iPhone maker does not dispute any of the facts. You acknowledge that it uses Ericsson’s patented technology and that it has not renewed its license and is therefore currently infringing the patent. It appears to be hoping it can apply enough legal pressure to force Ericsson to agree to a lower payment, while the Swedish company is doing the same in reverse by seeking to ban the iPhone.
The bottom line here is that both companies are vulnerable. Ericsson, because simultaneously cutting off its income streams from product sales and patent rights leaves it in a financially precarious position. Apple, because the financial consequences of banning iPhone sales in key markets put huge sums of money at risk.
One would think that both companies would make sense in settling the dispute in a boardroom, rather than in a series of courtrooms around the world, but so far there is no sign of compromise from either side.
Photo: Patrick Gruban/CC BY-SA 2.0
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