Brussels, 17 October 2019
In a recent press release the German Conservatives (CDU/CSU) Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker and Ingmar Jung express concerns over abusive litigation practices by patent trolls, which distort the market and undermine Germany’s attractiveness as a business location. They note that in light of the high complexity of modern products, companies can no longer completely rule out the possibility of patent infringements. In this context, an unlimited right to injunctive relief create unwarranted leverage for patent trolls who buy up patents only to assert them against companies and extract disproportionately high settlements. Solutions proposed by CDU/CSU are the introduction of a proportionality test in the German Patent Act as well as a synchronisation of infringement and nullity proceedings.
IP2Innovate has long advocated in favour of bringing more balance to the German patent system so that it supports innovation and economic growth. Statistical evidence as well as the experience of IP2Innovate members show that patent trolls are increasingly targeting Germany, depriving companies of significant financial resources that are no longer available for research, development and innovation. We welcome the political support for the reform of the German Patent Act to introduce a proportionality test on injunctive relief. Such a reform is necessary to support the development and marketing of complex, multi-functional high-tech products in Germany and across Europe’s single market.