updated 10:28 am EST, Tue February 25, 2014
Industry seeks to limit potential for injunctions
Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Google are among a group of 19 businesses and associations that have submitted a letter to the European Union, asking it to implement measures designed to fight patent trolls, Bloomberg reports. In particular, the companies are asking for limitations on product injunctions and/or court proceedings when the validity of a related patent is still in contention. Patent trolls are companies that make no products of their own, but instead generate income through licensing fees and/or lawsuits.
The group's repeated lobbying comes at a critical juncture, since the EU is working on setting up a European patent court, which will in turn set the stage for a continent-wide patent system. Decisions made now could influence the outcome of patent cases for the next several decades.
A similar union of corporations has taken a different approach in the US, asking the US Supreme Court to make it easier for defendants to claim legal fees from plaintiffs. Under the looser proposed rules, defendants would be able to claim fees if a court rules a plaintiff "unreasonably pursues a case having an objectively low likelihood of success."
Some of the companies lobbying the EU are in fact involved in patent lawsuits with each other, most notably Apple and Samsung. The two have regularly squared off not only over infringement but the legitimacy of product injunctions within those cases.