Google, Intel, Spotify urge EU to tackle US patent trolls

A coalition of companies including Google, Intel and Spotify has asked the European Commission to take concrete steps “to prevent further abuses” of the EU legal system by US patent trolls.

Intellectual Property 2 Innovate, a Brussels-based advocacy group that claims 35 businesses as members, issued a statement urging the European Commission to “investigate the scale of the problem to better appreciate the risks to business and innovation and take steps to protect European innovators.”

The group said the European Union was facing a “new explosion” of patent infringement lawsuits from so-called patent trolls “that are abusing Europe’s legal system(s) for financial gain.”

IP2Innovate said it is a new and growing coalition of small and large companies that collectively holds thousands of European patents.

“IP2Innovate members have directly experienced patent assertion entities that are adept at exploiting the rigidities of Europe’s patent systems on automatic permanent injunctions, inadequate fee-shifting and poor quality patents … ” said the group.

“The abusive practices of patent trolls, also known as patent assertion entities, cause great uncertainty for business, add unnecessary costs, scare investors, stifle innovation, slow development and the introduction of new products, and even force businesses to shut down.”

The group said 80% of lawsuits filed outside the US by patent assertion entities happen in Europe, with the majority having been filed in Germany in the past two years.

Patrick Oliver, executive director of IP2Innovate, said: “The risk will only increase with the implementation of the Unified Patent Court which will make Europe an even more attractive venue for patent abuses.

“The European Commission must get tough with US patent trolls.”