Ericsson addresses trouble with litigation costs in the annual report 2003:
"Our products incorporate complex technology involving intellectual property rights (IPR) developed by us that may be difficult to protect or may be found to infringe on the rights of others.
While we have been issued a number of patents and other patent applications are currently pending, there can be no assurance that any of these patents will not be challenged, invalidated, or circumvented, or that any rights granted under these patents will in fact provide competitive advantages to us.
We utilize a combination of trade secrets, confidentiality policies, nondisclosure and other contractual arrangements in addition to relying on patent, copyright and trademark laws to protect our intellectual property rights. However, these measures may not be adequate to prevent or deter infringement or other misappropriation. Moreover, we may not be able to detect unauthorized use or take appropriate and timely steps to establish and enforce our proprietary rights. In fact, existing laws of some countries in which we conduct business may offer only limited protection of our intellectual property rights, if at all.
Many key aspects of networking technology are governed by industry-wide standards, which are usable by all market participants. As the number of market entrants as well as the complexity of the technology increases, the possibility of functional overlap and inadvertent IPR infringement also increases. Third parties have asserted, and in the future may assert, claims against us alleging that we infringe their intellectual property rights. Defending such claims may be expensive, time consuming and divert the efforts of our management and/or technical personnel. As a result of litigation, we could be required to pay damages and other compensation, develop non-infringing products/technology or enter into royalty or licensing agreements. However, we cannot be certain that any such licenses, if available at all, will be available to us on commercially reasonable terms."