While this might not seem like groundbreaking news, a global patent license agreement is great news for Ericsson and Samsung, both of which finalised the agreement at the weekend.
The reason for this is not what you might expect though.
Earlier this year, in February to be precise, Ericsson filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in which it was claimed that Samsung was infringing on its 4G and 5G infrastructure patents.
This global patent license agreement ends the complaints filed by both companies before the ITC, “as well as the ongoing lawsuits in several countries,” Ericsson wrote in a press release.
The agreement will cover the sale of network infrastructure and handsets for 1st January 2021. This doesn’t mean that Samsung infringed on Ericsson’s patents, however, it doesn’t refute the idea either.
Unfortunately the details of the agreement are an unknown so we won’t know why this agreement was reached.
Ericsson did, however, state that revenues from intellectual property rights would be around SEK2 billion in Q2 2021.
“The value of Ericsson’s IP portfolio extends to more than 57 000 granted patents and is strengthened by annual investment in Research and Development of approximately SEK40 billion. With a leading global position in 5G, the company is confident of growing its IPR revenues long term, thereby further maximising the value of the overall patent portfolio,” Ericsson wrote.
While Ericsson is benefitting monetarily from this agreement, it can’t be understated how important this will be for Samsung.
The South Korean smartphone maker has open road ahead of it since Huawei has all but left the global smartphone market behind. But in order for Samsung to take advantage of that open road it needs to leverage great tech at an affordable price across a variety of price points.
As 5G is the new hotness, being able to leverage Ericsson’s tech (which is really rather good) in its devices may be the key to winning this 5G race.
Of course none of this matters in South Africa where Icasa and network operators are still fighting about the details of a spectrum auction that might make 5G more widely available.
Yes we know 5G is technically available in South Africa, but we’re looking for critical mass and until the powers that be can decide how best to reach that, at least we have devices ready to go.