UPC: better protection needed against patent trolls

Usually when the same sentence mentions Amazon, Apple, Samsung or Microsoft and the word “patent” you are reading a report concerning some billion-dollars infringement litigation.

This time, however, the above companies and a group of other tech giants are on the same side, being the joint signatory of a common position addressed to the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court as well as to other European concerned bodies.

The position urges European officials to review the UPC system in order to enhance the protection from patent trolls.

In particular, the tech companies point out that the bifurcated system, which allows a decision on infringement separated from the decision on the validity of the patent, may be exploited by patent trolls at their advantage and to the detriment of the innovators, noting that “this result unduly reduces competition, can increase the cost of products in the market and reduce product choices, all negatively impacting consumers. Many other stakeholders, ranging from telecommunications operators to pharmaceutical companies and patent practitioners, raised similar concerns and made similar recommendations”.

Here in Italy, as well as in most EU countries, bifurcation is not possible and validity and infringement are assessed together by the same court. Claims based on vague or shaky patents hardly originate injunctions, so that the weapons in the hands of patent trolls are far less effective compared to other Countries.

The UPC should reflect the best practices of the different EU courts; chances are that the bifurcated system is not among them.

Let’s see if the EU officials take into account the concerns expressed in the common position and provide the new system with effective troll antibodies.