It isn’t often that we get to report on news in which Apple and Samsung are working together for a common goal, but this is exactly the case today as both companies have joined together with 17 others to support new patent policies in the European Union to limit patent trolling. Certainly these companies have extensive experience in this area and hopefully lessons they have learned will help make the new patent system in the EU better than the mess it currently is.
The EU is creating a ‘unitary patent system’ which is a big change to how things have been done previously. Imagine that the United States had a separate patent system for each state and that you had to file separately for each one. That is exactly what is required in Europe but a new system will allow a patent to hold up across the entire EU without separate paperwork. It would also simplify patent related litigation, which is going to save time and money.
As reported by Bloomberg, one of the primary points of the letter written by the 19 companies and sent to the EU is in regards to patent trolls and a desire to limit their ability to file injunctions during litigation. As the letter explains:
“Without this guidance, the potential exists for a court to order an injunction prohibiting the importation and sale of goods even though the patent may ultimately be found invalid.”
Patent trolling refers to patent holders seeking licensing fees without any plans to ever manufacture the product themselves, often through litigation. When litigation in the U.S. begins it is difficult for the trolls to seek injunctions on the manufacture and distribution of products due to the way the system is set up but in the EU that is not the case and the courts have been able to stop companies from importing and selling products until the court finishes its work. If the EU follows the recommendation of the 19 companies then the system would be more like it is in the U.S. which doesn’t usually block sales until the litigation is finished.
[image via eu2013.ie]