Ericsson files patent infringement lawsuit against China's ZTE

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) is suing Chinese rival ZTE for alleged patent infringement pertaining to several GSM- and W-CDMA-related handset and network patents.

Ericsson spokesman Fredrik Hallstan told the AP that the vendor filed lawsuits in the U.K., Germany and Italy on Friday after several tries at getting ZTE to sign a patent licensing agreement.

"This has been going on for many years," Hallstan said. "This is a last resort."

Ericsson has not disclosed how many patents it is accusing ZTE of infringing. Ericsson is also requesting that ZTE be banned from selling mobile phones that contain the patented technology as well as some network equipment.

ZTE responded with a five-paragraph statement, which in part read:

"When disputes over patents occur, ZTE always follows the rules of mutual respect and mutual benefits to seek reasonable solutions. To date, through negotiation and cross-licensing, ZTE has reached a consensus with most telecommunications systems and components vendors on the majority of products and has been seldom needed to resort to third party adjudication, let alone legal action.

But we are also aware that, as competition becomes fierce, patent lawsuits have become an unavoidable challenge for every player in this industry. Patent traps, patent blackmail, overcharging, and involving customers in lawsuits has become commonplace, especially when market structures change and existing business models are challenged. ZTE believes that reasonable negotiation with the purpose of resolving the disputes is the only way for any vendor to survive in this market, and urges Ericsson to withdraw its legal action."

For more:
- see this AP article
- read ZTE's statement

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ZTE's 2010 profit climbs 32% on strong overseas sales
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