Spain-based company in Marshall court over antenna technology

Cellphone tower

A new 5G tower still partially wrapped rises above the intersection of Gilbert and Boulevard Street in Shreveport's Highland area.

MARSHALL, Texas - The patent infringement case of Barcelona, Spain-based Fractus against cellphone giants, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and intervenor-defendant CommScope continued in Marshall’s federal court Wednesday over antenna technology that allows cellular companies and smartphone makers to deliver high-speed Internet access to their customers.

In the case, Fractus — an early pioneer in the development of internal antennas for smartphones, tablets and wireless devices — filed suit in April 2018, accusing the companies of using its patented technology that covers its invention of based station antennas, without paying royalties. Fractus is suing CommScope for making and using antennas that incorporate the Fractus patented invention that is described in the suit, and selling the antennas to carrier customers: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

The case kicked off last Thursday in Marshall’s federal court with US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Chief Judge, Rodney Gilstrap, presiding.

Fractus is seeking more than $500 million in the case.

“Fractus’s cellular phone antenna designs have been licensed by all of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, Blackberry and Motorola,” the lawsuit states. “Together, phone manufacturers have paid Fractus more than $100 million in licensing fees for the right to use its smartphone antenna designs.”

The lawsuit contends that while Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have saved hundreds of millions of dollars by deploying base station antennas across the United States using Fractus’s patented technology, they have never paid any royalties for the right to do so.

“Fractus is entitled to compensation for (the defendants’) use of its inventions. It brings this lawsuit to recover that fair share,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff contends that the success of the companies is built on the quality of their nationwide network, and the ability to provide high-speed connections to hundreds of millions of users across the entire country, with Verizon, particularly proudly asking customers: “Can you hear me now?” and T-Mobile proudly announcing to customers: “Welcome to America’s best unlimited network”; and AT&T proudly telling customers: “AT&T has the nation’s largest and most reliable network.”

“To deliver that capacity, (the defendants) and the other major U.S. carriers have invested billions of dollars in successive generations of cellular standards that utilize increasing numbers of frequency bands. They source the highest-performance antennas from manufacturers like Amphenol, Kathrein, CommScope, and RFS that are capable of multiband communications,” the lawsuit states.

“Virtually every one of those antennas infringes Fractus’ patent rights,” the lawsuit contends.



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