A messy patent dispute between Apple and Optis Cellular Technology could lead to the former’s exit from the UK market, reports This is Money.
Optis and its partners PanOptis Patent Management and Unwired Planet own patents relating to 3G and 4G and they have accused Apple of violating some of them. The row has been split into a series of trials and recently, a High Court ruled that two patents have been infringed by Apple.
A trial is set for the summer of 2022 to determine a licensing rate that is fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND). Apple doesn’t want to commit to a yet-to-be-determined fee and Optic claims that this is a sign that Apple is an unwilling licensee.
The iPhone maker will try to persuade a London court this month that that’s not the case and it shouldn’t be forced to make a commitment before a FRAND rate is decided.
If Optis and its partners are able to prove otherwise and Apple fails to sign a legally binding pledge that it will honor the rate that will be decided in 2022, UK may ban the sale of iPhones. Optis has sued Apple for $7billion (£5billion) but if the company leaves the UK, it won’t have to pay anything.
Perhaps to build up pressure on the legal entities involved, Apple has warned that it would consider exiting the UK market if it is forced to pay a ‘commercially unacceptable’ fee. In the unlikely scenario that this happens, Apple will stop selling its phones in the UK.