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IP2Innovate welcomes the call by CDU/CSU to introduce a proportionality test in the German Patent Act to better protect innovators against patent trolls

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.

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SEP regulation: a step in the right direction

BRUSSELS, 28 April 2023 – IP2Innovate welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to reform the licensing of standard essential patents. “This initiative should at least help level the playing field when standard essential patents licensing is involved,” said Patrick Oliver, executive director of IP2Innovate. “The proposal isn’t as bold as it was a week ago, but it still has certain important reforms in place. Opponents of this reform have lobbied intensely for the Commission to abandon it. I hope that in an effort to compromise, the Commission hasn’t opened up loopholes that would undermine its effectiveness,” he added. IP2Innovate welcomes the Commission’s effort to inject much needed transparency into SEP licensing, limiting the instances where patent owners could abuse the system. In his press conference on 27 April, Commissioner Thierry Breton referred to how the current SEP system enables patent owners to extract excessive royalties. “He is right. This happens not only with SEPs but also in the broader patent system too,” said Mr Oliver, adding: "We hope he is also right when he says this practise will become impossible in the areas of SEPs, and that he then turns his attention to fixing related problems that plague the broader patents system in Europe.” IP2Innovate members collectively have thousands of European patents, including SEPs. They believe that patents play a vital role in the innovation process. But when the system is abused patents become an obstacle to innovation. And it’s not only happening with SEPs. Many patent assertion entities (PAEs) are in business to exploit the weaknesses in the system. IP2Innovate was established in 2016 to combat patent abuse by these PAEs, often referred to as patent trolls. It has been pushing for courts to move away from granting automatic injunctions in patent disputes, and instead apply remedies that are proportionate, especially when highly complex products are involved.
IP2Innovate

IP2Innovate statement on the European Commission’s plans to propose a new regulation governing SEP licensing

BRUSSELS, 5 April 2023 – According to news reports last week the European Commission’s planned proposal for a Regulation on standard essential patents (SEPs) will tackle deep-rooted problems such as the lack of transparency and predictability in SEP licensing. IP2Innovate looks forward to reading the official proposal in the coming weeks.
IP2Innovate

Dr Krista Rantasaari: Abuse of Patent Enforcement in Europe. How Can Start-ups and Growth Companies Fight Back?

On Friday the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency of the EU will invite member states to support a declaration regarding startups that seeks to create common standards in areas such as access to finance and social inclusion. Ms Rantasaari feels that patent issues are missing from this otherwise useful initiative.
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