The authors of the appeal believe that the European patent system does not work properly.
A group of 35 companies and industry organizations, including Apple and Microsoft, sent a letter to the European Commission. It calls for action against the so-called patent trolls, which buy patents in the hope of making a profit through licenses or lawsuits. According to the authors of the letter, patent trolls stifle innovation.
The signatories called on Thierry Breton, the new commissioner to oversee industrial policy and technology, to develop strict rules to prevent trolls from “playing with the system.”
In particular, they asked EU courts to take a milder approach, noting that in the past, judges imposed a complete ban on products when it was found that only one patent was infringed.
Patrick Oliver, Executive Director of IP2Innovate, one of the industry groups that signed the letter, said that “the experience of our member companies indicates that the European patent system is not working properly and undermines Europe’s ability to compete in advanced technologies in the global market.”
For many years, the United States has been a fertile hunting ground for patent trolls because, in the event of a violation, the courts quickly issued injunctions. But in 2006, the Supreme Court passed a higher threshold of violations for injunctions.