Apple, BMW, Microsoft and others join forces to urge EU to crack down on patent hooligans

On The morning of January 17th, technology and car companies including Apple, BMW, Microsoft and Samsung urged the European Commission to take action to block the European Court of Justice from issuing an automatic ban in favour of so-called “patent trolls”. In a letter to thierry Breton, the new internal marketing commissioner, the companies said imbalances in the European legal system were undermining innovation.

Apple, BMW, Microsoft and others join forces to urge EU to crack down on patent hooligans

“Automated prohibitions make Europe increasingly attractive to patent advocacy entities (PAEs), also known as ‘patent trolls,'” the letter reads. As the U.S. litigation environment became less friendly to these patent-claiment entities, they turned to Europe. “These patents claim that entities do not manufacture, sell or invent anything – they simply use the patents they purchase. The EU needs to ensure that its existing measures are effectively implemented to prevent patent claims from entity-drilling into the uneven ness of the European patent system. “

Companies that signed the letter also include Adidas, Microsoft, Volkswagen and T-Mobile. The companies also urged the European Commission to issue new guidelines on when courts issue patent bans.

The letter said the guidelines should take into account “whether the ban creates leverage that is disproportionate to the value of the patented technology.”

The letter was signed by 35 companies and trade bodies including IP2Innovate and the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

A month ago, the technology and automotive industry also urged the European Commission to ensure that standard element patents are licensed under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions.