India's Micromax promised on Tuesday to try to work out a patent deal with Ericsson after the Swedish equipment-maker sued the leading domestic handset maker for alleged patent infringement. The company issued the statement after an Indian court Monday gave an interim ruling in favour of Ericsson, which had filed an $18-million suit against Micromax, accusing it of using its patented technology to make mobile phones.
The suit marks the first high-profile Indian patent litigation case amid a number worldwide, notably between Apple Inc of the United States and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co.
The court told Micromax to work out what is known as a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory, or FRAND, licence agreement with Ericsson. Handset makers often rely on technologies owned by other firms to make their mobile phones and conclude a FRAND licence agreement when doing so.
"Micromax is committed to negotiating a FRAND licence with Ericsson as Ericsson has undertaken to provide" such a licence to Micromax," the Indian company said in an emailed statement. Micromax was also told to pay Ericsson royalties of up to two percent of the sale price of the disputed handset devices and deposit the sum with the court.
A spokesman for Ericsson was not immediately available for comment. But The Economic Times, a leading Indian financial daily, quoted the Swedish company's lawyer, Pratibha Singh, as saying: "This case marks the arrival of big-ticket patent litigation in India."
The two sides had been negotiating an agreement for over three years but had been unable to agree on a price for the technology, the newspaper said. Micromax, which is India's biggest handset maker and sells phones in over a dozen countries, declined to comment further.