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Everything you Should Know About the Ban on Apple Products in Colombia

A Legal Dispute Between Ericsson and Apple has Stopped the Commercialization of iPhone and iPad Devices with 5G Technology in Colombia. Find Out the Details of the Case.

Apple-branded products

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LatinAmerican Post | Joshua Radesca

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Leer en español: Lo que debes saber sobre la prohibición de productos Apple en Colombia

In recent weeks, Apple has had to deal with problems that directly affect the sale of its devices. Since July 11, Colombia has become a country in which, for now, the sale of various iPhone and iPad models with 5G connectivity is prohibited. This was declared by the 43rd Civil Judge of the Bogotá Circuit. The reason for this is a lawsuit imposed by Ericsson to prevent Apple from marketing products with technology whose patent belongs to them and that the company with the bitten apple has not paid properly.

The court ruling considers that the US company has infringed the patent granted to Ericsson in the Latin American country, therefore it establishes: "the order that Apple Colombia SAS immediately cease and desist the importation into the Republic of Colombia of all devices or telephones Cell phones in which the technology protected by Claim 13 of Patent No. 36031 is used. This same document establishes the prohibition of the commercialization of Apple products in Colombian territory.

This affects models such as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro-Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPad Pro (11-inch) and iPad Pro (12.9 inches).

A 5G dispute

The 5G connectivity used by the latest generation of iPhone and other Apple products uses a license owned by Ericsson, therefore, the American company must pay to use this technology in its devices.

The two companies had an agreement from 2015 with a duration of 7 years. Since it expired, Apple has stopped paying royalties, since it does not consider the amount required by the license to be adequate. This led to the Swedish technology company filing two lawsuits in the United States against the Cupertino company for patent infringement a few months ago.

The central axis of the dispute is in the price of the license. Apple seeks to pay the minimum possible and the Swedish company to press for the best compensation for its technology. The altercation between Ericsson and Apple has a global scale, the European company has advanced legal actions in countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Brazil and the United States, with the intention of stopping the import and sale of Apple products with 5G connectivity. Colombia is the first country where these actions prosper.

For its part, Apple accused Ericsson of suing in secret and without prior notice in Colombia with the purpose of forcing them to abandon the dispute carried out in Texas between both parties over the patent license.

Speaking to a web media, Apple stated that: “We are always willing to pay a fair price for the technology used in our products. Unfortunately, Ericsson has refused to negotiate fair terms to renew the long-standing cross-licensing of patents , choosing instead to sue us around the world in an attempt to extract excessive royalties. We believe that the recent decision based on a Colombian patent is unfair and we have appealed”

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After the ruling in Colombia, Apple sought that Ericsson be sanctioned in the United States, demanding that it be compensated for the damages and losses caused by the ban on the sale of its devices. However, the Texas court handling the case denied this request.

The uncertain future

This is a back-and-forth dispute. Experts indicate that, at this time, both companies are in a complex situation, neither is victory assured. They also state that it is difficult to predict whether the disagreement will end up being settled by judicial means or through a private agreement.