More work needed to protect European Union from patent trolls
Posted by Horacio Gutierrez
Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
In less than a month, European leaders will come together to finalize the draft rules of procedure for the Unitary Patent Court. On Tuesday, a diverse cross-industry coalition of nearly 20 companies and associations urged the European Union to make further amendments to the rules to support innovation, while deterring patent trolls from entering the EU patent space.
The rules of procedure are the blueprint for the Unitary Patent Court, which will govern patent disputes for most of the EU. If these rules are sound, companies doing business in Europe will be able to innovate more efficiently.
The current draft needs additional revision to meet that goal. As currently written, the sections on bifurcation and injunctions could lead to an influx of patent trolls, eager to exploit the new system that allows them to ‘hold up’ manufacturers without having to first prove their patent is valid.
Microsoft and other coalition members previously submitted proposed changes to the UPC that would provide more specific guidance on when to permit bifurcation and when to grant injunctions. We urge policymakers to fully adopt these recommendations in their March 18 meeting.
We continue to stand ready to support European policy makers in creating a system that will allow European innovation and competitiveness to thrive.