In the past Apple has paid out on the licences, but in mid-January Jobs's Mob refused to write more cheques. Ericsson already tried to reach terms with Apple and offered them a license; they have a turned it down.
Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson's chief intellectual property officer said that it was not going for more money than it what it was actually owed.
Ericsson has offered to have an independent arbitrator determine rates of ceompensation, but Apple has hit out saying that the Stockholm-based company "seeks to exploit its patents to take the value of these cutting-edge Apple innovations."
It's even accused the company of "abusive licensing practices."
So Ericsson's decision to attempt to block iPhone sales via the International Trade Commission ratchets the dispute up a level, although this is pretty standard. The Commission has the power to act more swiftly than the courts, blocking the import of goods as they head into the States from China.
Of course the Tame Apple Press is furious at Ericsson for daring to ask Apple for money for its patents.
“A halt in iPhone sales simply won't be tolerated,” thundered Gizmodo. Nice to know that it is on the side of a company which suddenly refuses to pay for something it previously acknowledged it had not invented.