Micromax might claim that its products are ‘Nothing like anything’, but it seems that Ericsson doesn’t share the same sentiment. The company has sued Micromax over patent infringement and has moved to Delhi High Court, demanding Rs 100 crores in damages. This marks the arrival of patent wars on the Indian shores, with similar feuds between tech giants including Samsung, Apple, Google and Microsoft already going in courtrooms around the world.
Ericsson claims that the homegrown mobile manufacturer has refused to enter licence agreements over use of several of its patents across wireless technology standards such as GSM, EDGE and 3G despite several attempts by the former.
Taking swift action, Justice Manmohan of the Delhi High Court, has asked Micromax to pay between 1.25% and 2% of the sale price of devices being disputed and deposit it with the court. The court has also allowed Ericsson to join customs officials in inspecting Micromax’s consignments that reach the Indian shores.
Micromax executives on the other hand, claimed that Ericsson failed to stick to global commitments on providing its industry-essential patents to handset makers under FRAND (Free Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) terms. They also called Ericsson’s claims and demands as “irrational and inequitable licence fees”. A Miciromax spokesman later 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 honorable court, it would be incorrect for Micromax to make any further statements on the matter.”
This is so far one of the biggest cases of its kind in the Indian IT space. If the court sides with Ericsson, other Indian manufacturers having a dream run so far might find themselves facing similar courtroom sessions and accusations. It might also propel other patent holders like Nokia to join the case against the local players.