Google, Samsung, Apple & others push EU to combat patent trolls

court-decision1Bloomberg reports that Google, Apple, Samsung and others have teamed up to co-sign a letter sent to the European Union requesting policy changes that will limit the ability of patent trolls to block product sales. Apple and Samsung are just two of 19 companies backing the letter:

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.

As noted in the report, similar initiatives involving many of the same companies have recently been put before the U.S. Supreme Court. Apple made its feelings on patent trolls pretty clear in a recent FTC filing when it revealed that it was the subject of 92 lawsuits by patent assertion entities over the course of the past three years. That, Apple noted, is more than any other company. Google published its own blog post today noting “the current draft rules contain certain provisions that trolls could exploit, taking a potentially serious toll on economic growth and innovation in Europe.”

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.

Google and Huawei were among the other companies that co-signed the letter sent to the EU authorities today.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.