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EU: Court of Justice aide takes first step to clarify patent litigation limits

 |  November 20, 2014

An aide to the European Court of Justice has suggested that there are some instances in which patent litigation over standard-essential patents is legitimate and justified, say reports.

EU lawmakers are in the midst of debating rules for patent litigation as critics demand crackdowns on patent trolls and anticompetitive lawsuits. But Advocate General Melchoir Wathelet of the EU Court of Justice offered an advisory opinion stating that a company that owns technology is not by default wrong to bring legal action to attempt to bar other companies from using that technology.

He argues that such patent litigation is legitimate when a patent owner, without abusing market dominance, seeks damages for patent infringement before a licensing agreement was made.

Wathelet’s remarks were part of a request for guidance by a German court as technology giants Huawei and ZTE battle out patent infringement litigation regarding 4G wireless technology. According to reports, the case at the Court of Justice is the first to handle the scope of SEPs and the rights of their owners.

While the European Commission has implied through previous rulings that SEP owners are wrong to seek an injunction in certain circumstances, Wathelet suggests that it is only wrong to seek an injunction against a company that is “willing and able to enter into” a licensing agreement.

Full content: Bloomberg

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