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India watchdog against Ericsson

Staff writer |
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has issued order for probing allegations that Ericsson violated fair trade norms by charging higher royalty for technology patents.

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The fair trade watchdog's latest action for probe against Ericsson has come on domestic mobile phone firm Intex Technologies' (India) complaint, which is similar to that made by home grown handset maker Micromax. CCI has said that there is prima facie evidence of Ericsson being dominant in GSM and CDMA technologies market in India since the entity held a large number of related patents.

According to CCI's latest order, the charges made with respect to royalty rates "made it clear that the practices adopted by opposite party (Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson) were discriminatory as well as contrary to FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms".

On November 12 last year, the CCI had ordered investigation against Ericsson for similar allegations. Noting that the allegations are similar in both cases, the regulator has said the probe, with respect to Intex's complaint, can be "clubbed" with the investigation ordered in November. The investigation would be carried out by the CCI's investigation arm - Director General (DG).

As per the latest order, Ericsson had 33,000 patents to its credit, with 400 of these patents granted in India. The company was the largest holder of SEPs (standard essential patents) for mobile communications like 2G, 3G and 4G that are used mainly used for smart phones and tablets.

Intex had alleged that royalty rates demanded by Ericsson were excessive and discriminatory. The telecom equipment major has also been alleged of imposing unfair terms for licensing its patents.

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