[Ip-health] Bloomberg: Apple Joins Samsung in Telling EU to Cut Patent Trolls' Power

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Feb 26 06:13:11 PST 2014


<SNIP>

"The proposal would bring the EU closer to the U.S., where it's almost
impossible for patent owners who don't make products to block the sales
based on a finding of infringement. Even direct competitors like Apple and
Samsung have been stymied in their efforts to halt sales of infringing
devices in the U.S."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-25/apple-joins-samsung-in-telling-eu-to-cut-patent-trolls-power.html

--

Apple Joins Samsung in Telling EU to Cut Patent Trolls' Power
By Stephanie Bodoni - Feb 25, 2014

Apple Inc. (AAPL) <http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/AAPL:US> and Samsung
Electronics Co. (005930) <http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/005930:KS>, which
have sued each other around the globe over patents, joined together to tell
the European Union to cut down on the ability of companies that license
patents to win court rulings limiting product sales.

Apple and Samsung are among 19 companies and associations that told the EU
in a letter that a new court should limit the ability of companies that
license technology to win court injunctions when the validity of the
underlying patent is in dispute.

Manufacturers are turning to lawmakers and courts in Europe and America in
battles with patent trolls, a derogatory term for intellectual property
owners that don't manufacturer products and instead rely on license fees. A
similar group of companies are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it
easier for them to collect legal fees in patent disputes.

The companies have repeatedly lobbied the EU over the issue as the
28-nation bloc implements plans to set up its first patent court, paving
the way for a common patent
system<http://eu2013.ie/news/news-items/20130219upcfeature/>
.

The companies urged the committee of EU member states representatives that
oversee the setting up of the court to incorporate guidance that advises
judges on when to issue injunctions or halt the proceedings while a
patent's validity is at issue.

"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," the companies, including
China<http://topics.bloomberg.com/china/>'s
biggest smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co. and Google Inc.
(GOOG)<http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GOOG:US>,
wrote in a letter that was sent to EU authorities today.

The proposal would bring the EU closer to the U.S., where it's almost
impossible for patent owners who don't make products to block the sales
based on a finding of infringement. Even direct competitors like Apple and
Samsung have been stymied in their efforts to halt sales of infringing
devices in the U.S.
IPCom Suit

Apple, the maker of the iPad and iPhone, is being sued in
Germany<http://topics.bloomberg.com/germany/> for
1.57 billion euros ($2.2 billion) by IPCom GmbH over technology for phones
using the 3G wireless standard. IPCom, based in Munich, has sued
mobile-device makers globally over mobile technology it acquired from Robert
Bosch GmbH <http://topics.bloomberg.com/robert-bosch-gmbh/> in 2007 to
collect license fees.

Intellectual property disputes, primarily over patents, made up 18 percent
of cross-border litigation between companies and that number is expected to
rise, according to a survey of lawyers and executives by the Hogan Lovells
law firm. Contract disputes remain the most common type of litigation, at
about 44 percent.
Cross-Border Cases

The rise in cross-border intellectual property fights is greatest in the
U.S., U.K., Germany, France <http://topics.bloomberg.com/france/> and
China. It's a reflection of changing attitudes toward patents in all
industries, not just smartphones -- auto manufacturing, chemicals,
genetically-modified plants and pharmaceuticals are all seeing an increase
in both patents being issued and patents being litigated.

"You never know what one judge will do, but if you're in five countries,
the chances that a judge will go favorably to you increases," Andreas von
Falck, head of the firm's intellectual property practice. "It's more a
business tool for monetization when it used to be used to fend off a
competitor. That has increased the litigation across the world."

While in the U.S. and Europe <http://topics.bloomberg.com/europe/> the
political attention is on lawsuits filed by patent owners who don't make
products and rely on threats of litigation to extract royalties, the
majority of cases remain between companies suing competitors, he said.

Samsung and Apple have filed suits in the U.S., U.K. and Germany over the
technology to their phones and tablet devices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at
sbodoni at bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at
aaarons at bloomberg.net



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