Brussels, 30 November 2017
Without rigorous implementation of new safeguards to all patents, international patent trolls will continue their corrosive impact on Europe’s patent legal system. The European Commission yesterday took an essential first step in recognising the problem of patent trolling and abusive lawsuits in Europe, but fell short of a fully inclusive approach.
The IP Package of 29 November proposes a series of important safeguards to prevent further abuse of the patent legal system in Europe. These include reaffirmation of the proportionality principle so judges to grant adapted remedies and not issue automatic injunctions; better implementation of fee shifting; and increased transparency of patent litigation data.
But two key issues have not been addressed in the IP Package.
- All patents deserve safeguards, including the proportionality principle, not just a limited few. If some patents are left unprotected by the new safeguards, the patent trolls will continue targeting European manufacturers with abusive litigation practices.
- All courts must respect the safeguards. If there is no implementation rigour across the Member States, abuse of the patent legal system in Europe will continue as patent trolls take advantage of the differences in how safeguards are applied across Member States and initiate litigation in jurisdictions that give them the most leverage.
Patrick Oliver, Executive Director of IP2Innovate said “Vice-President Ansip must quickly provide investors and innovators with greater certainty. The safeguards outlined by the Commission in the IP Package are an essential first step to prevent abusive litigation practices. Two further steps are now needed. First, the Commission must acknowledge the need for safeguards to apply to all patents. Second, the Commission must work with Member States, industry, the legal profession and judicial authorities to ensure these safeguards are implemented and applied in practice.”
Oliver continued, “All patents need strong safeguards. Not just a few. And we need to see rigour in implementation. More abuse of the legal system by patent trolls and more damage to Europe’s innovators is a frightening prospect.”
IP2Innovate is a coalition of business innovators that hold thousands of European patents and have direct experience of patent trolls.
Contact Amaury Libbrecht, Policy Manager of IP2Innovate at email@example.com or +32 492 22 08 20