LAS VEGAS ― Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg hinted Thursday that the Swedish telecommunications company is willing to seek a compromise with Samsung Electronics in an ongoing legal patent dispute.
''Ericsson wants to close the (patent) talks, though Samsung has countersued us. But I can't comment more on this issue. We still need to sort it out,'' Vestberg said in an interview with The Korea Times on the sidelines of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Thursday (KST).
The chief executive said Ericsson respects all its competitors, stressing the Korean market is extremely important for the Swedish firm. He said his company's main rivals are Chinese vendors in the mobile industry while Oracle is its biggest competitor in the information and technology sector.
In late December, Samsung filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission to seek a U.S. ban on Ericsson products. The move came after Ericsson earlier that month asked the commission to bar U.S. imports of some Samsung wireless products.
The Swedish company is a pioneer in the rapidly-growing fourth-generation (4G) standard. It has been producing second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) mobile technology for more than 20 years.
Ericsson's Chief Intellectual Property Officer Kasim Alfalahi joined the interview and said that the company is now focusing on 4G-related technology.
Samsung is seeking to reduce the fee it pays Ericsson to license standard essential patents that are crucial for 4G-related technology. The ongoing dispute is aimed at tackling Samsung in the growing network equipment market. Ericsson's initial agreement for mobile patents with Samsung Electronics expired in 2011.
''One of the important areas in technology is licensing and agreement. Ericsson has open standards and we are promoting licenses. That's why we have hundreds of signed agreements with all the major firms," Alfalahi said.
"It's very important to keep commitments within their right frame. Patents are there to protect our investment on research,'' he stressed. ''We like our eco-system to grow. Our vision is to have 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Ericsson is quickly demonstrating its ability to be successful in this industry."
The firm recently suffered a huge drop in sales of its network business, which dipped 17 percent in the third quarter of last year. It is turning to the courts to maintain its patent revenue amid a growing trend that sees large technology vendors protecting their intellectual property as worldwide tablet and smartphone sales continue to soar.