Apple, Microsoft and BMW, together with a broad group of other tech companies and carmakers, have called on the EU to take action against so-called patent trolls, who buy up patents in the hope of making a profit through licenses or lawsuits.
In a letter to the European Commission, the group of 35 companies and four industry groups warned that patent trolls were stifling innovation.
They called for Thierry Breton, the new commissioner who oversees industrial policy and technology, to draw up tough rules to stop patent hoarders from “gaming the system”.
In particular, they asked for EU courts to take a softer approach, noting that in the past judges have issued blanket bans on products when just a single patent was found to be infringed.
“The experience of our member companies indicates that Europe’s patent system is not working properly and is undermining Europe’s ability to compete globally in the next frontier of technologies,” said Patrick Oliver, executive director of IP2Innovate, one of the industry groups that signed the letter.
“We are urging Commissioner (Thierry) Breton to draft a set of guidelines that address imbalances in the patent system — in particular guidelines that support the application of a proportionality requirement in patent enforcement by judges around Europe, as required by EU law,” the companies said.
Full Content: Financial Times
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