updated 09:35 pm EST, Fri January 20, 2012
Ericsson and ZTE drop patent suits on GSM, 3G
Ericsson and ZTE on Friday made peace and dropped lawsuits against each other over cellular technology. In return for stopping legal action, they agreed to license some of each other's technology patents. ZTE would take a license of Ericsson's patents for GSM and 3G under lower standards-based rates; it's not clear what if anything Ericsson would be paying ZTE.
Ericsson had sued ZTE in Germany, Italy, and the UK in early April 2011. As with most such cases, ZTE sued back just days later to force Ericsson's hand. Many such dueling lawsuits end in settlements as the companies decide that the gains would be negligible or wouldn't be worth the risks.
For ZTE, clearing patent issues quickly may be important given pressures from Microsoft. It may owe as much as $31 in licenses for every Windows Phone device and is likely being asked by Microsoft to pay a fee for each Android phone under its controversial patent ownership claims.