Ericsson sues Micromax – Claims damages worth Rs.100 CR

Ericsson sues Micromax - Timeline of the story

[dropcap type=”none” color=”#ffffff” background=”#e53b2c”] T [/dropcap]imeline of Ericsson (2011 – Present)

[ul type=”arrow”] 2011: Sony bought it out of Sony Ericsson in 2011. Since then Ericsson had no business in mobile handsets. [/ul]

[ul type=”arrow”]Nov, 2012: Ericsson sues Samsung for patent infringement. [/ul]

[ul type=”arrow”]Feb, 2013: Reliance Communications and Ericsson sign USD 1 billion managed services contract for wire-line and wireless networks for North and West India. [/ul]

[ul type=”arrow”]March, 2013: Samsung countersues Ericsson after Failed Licensing talks. [/ul]

[ul type=”arrow”]March, 2013: Chris Houghton is appointed Head of Region India (Effective June 13, 2013). [/ul]

[ul type=”arrow”]March 2013: Ericsson sues Micromax for patent infringement. [/ul]

Ericsson, a Swedish company which is world’s largest telecom infrastructure technology maker sued Micromax, India’s largest mobile manufacturing company over patent infringement regarding wireless technology innovations standards such as GSM, EDGE and 3G for the following disputed handsets and tablets:

  • Models from Ninja series
  • Funbook Talk (Tablet)
  • Models from Canvas 2 series

Ericsson has moved Delhi High Court claiming about Rs 100 crore in damages. This legal action was initiated by the company, when Micromax failed to sign the necessary licenses for products compliant with the GSM, EDGE, and UMTS/WCDMA standards.

On its site, Micromax states it is the 12th biggest global mobile manufacturer, pitching in sum around 1.3 million handsets a month in Asia, the Middle East and Brazil. This was certainly one of the biggest eye catching proclamations made by them.

[alert style=”green”] Recently with an interview with Reuters, Kasim Alfalahi, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson, said “There are players who think they can get a free ride; use Ericsson technology without paying. However they very well know that some or the other day, we will enforce our patents.” [/alert]

This being the largest patent suit in India’s IT and telecom space, the High Court has asked both the companies to negotiate a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) license agreement which would be valid till the next hearing. Apart from this, Justice Manmohan of Delhi High court has initiated major 2 orders regarding the case:

  • Micromax has to pay between 1.25% and 2% of sale price as royalty of the sale price of disputed devices.
  • Executives from Ericsson can join customs officials in inspecting Micromax’s consignments to check for devices violating its patents.

This immediate action from the Indian Courts has made it very profound that intellectual property rights are taken seriously by the Indian Law. Pratibha Singh, one of the legal counsels at Ericsson added “Indian courts respond swiftly and with speed, if a strong case is made out. This case marks the arrival of big ticket patent litigation in India.”

[alert style=”yellow”] When asked to Micromax, the company’s spokesperson said “Micromax is committed to negotiating a FRAND licence with Ericsson as has Ericsson undertaken to providing a FRAND licence to Micromax. Since the matter is pending before the honourable court, it would be incorrect for Micromax to make any further statements on the matter.” [/alert]

Assuming that Ericsson’s suit is upheld by the Delhi High Court, it will have a huge effect. It has also been learnt that Ericsson will be initiating legal actions against various Indian cell phone manufacturers like Lava, Spice, Karbonn and Intex Technologies.