Ericsson wants US import ban on Samsung products

Ericsson's complaint, filed with the ITC, closely follows two patent lawsuits against Samsung

Just a few days after Ericsson filed several patent-infringement lawsuits against Samsung in the U.S., the Swedish mobile phone company also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), asking for an import ban of a wide range of Samsung products, including the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note.

Ericsson alleges that Samsung violates Section 337 of the Tariff Act by importing patent-infringing products into the U.S and selling them, according to a complaint that was published by the ITC on Monday.

"Ericsson seeks a limited exclusion order specifically directed to Samsung excluding from entry into the United States certain consumer electronics, including mobile phones tablets, televisions, and media players that infringe on one or more patents," Ericsson wrote in the complaint.

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If the ITC decides in favor of Ericsson, the public interest will be served because "an adequate supply of substitute devices will be available to at least Ericsson and its current licensees," and because the accused devices are not necessary for any health or welfare need, the company said. "The strong public interest in protecting Ericsson's valid intellectual property rights outweighs any potential adverse impact on the public," Ericsson added.

In addition to the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note, Ericsson alleges that Samsung infringes on its patents with the Samsung Captivate Slide as well as several TVs and the Galaxy Tab 7.7, among other devices.

Technologies at issue relate to electronic devices for wireless communications and data transfer including Radio Frequency (RF) technology and in some cases standardized communication protocols including GSM, GPRS, EDGE, W-CDMA, LTE, and 802.11 Wi-Fi standards, Ericsson said in the filing.

If the imported products are found to violate the Tariff Act, the ITC can issue a general or limited exclusion order, meaning that all or part of the products named in the complaint can be banned from being imported into the U.S., said Peg O'Laughlin, public affairs officer at the ITC. "The published document means that the complaint is filed," she said, adding that the complaint will now be reviewed, which typically takes 30 days. Then the Commission will decide whether it will begin an investigation, she said.

Ericsson's ITC complaint, filed on Friday, shortly follows two lawsuits that the company filed against Samsung last Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

The suits were filed because Ericsson said it could not reach a license agreement for its patents with Samsung on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms after two years of negotiations. Samsung was asked to pay the same rate as its competitors, but Samsung refused, according to Ericsson.

Samsung had licensed Ericsson patents before. However, according to a statement released by Samsung last week, Ericsson demanded "significantly higher royalty rates for the same patent portfolio," adding that it planned to "take all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson's excessive claims."

Samsung declined to comment on the ITC complaint. Ericsson did not respond to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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