[ffii] EU patent plans are a fuel for patent trolls, says British Telecom

Benjamin Henrion bhenrion at ffii.org
Fri Apr 27 11:33:11 CEST 2012

PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / Patents ]

EU patent plans are a fuel for patent trolls, says British Telecom

Strasbourg, 27 april 2012 -- British Telecom patent lawyer Simon Roberts
warned that current plans for an EU patent court are a fuel for patent trolls.
The current plans for an EU patent court will allow countries such as Germany
to keep their bifucarted court system, which acts like a magnet for companies
that want to enforce patents. Microsoft recently moved out of Germany because
of the unbalanced of the german court system.

Simon Roberts of BT complained about the german court system, which favours
patent owners by separating infringement and validaty proceedings. A product
can be banned from the german market even if the patent is found invalid a
year later.

Benjamin Henrion, president of the FFII, comments: "It is time for the
software community to wake up. Ministers are clueless about the dangers of the
EU court agreement, and I am surprised that top questions like bifurcation has
not been fixed. German courts are now a magnet for patent trolls, and the EU
patent court will allow them to stop products for a market of more then 600
million consumers. German failed patent system will expand to the whole EU."

Baroness Wilcox said on the unitary patent proposal: "the danger of
bifurcation is grossly underestimated, and what has arguably worked adequately
in Germany will not translate to Europe as a whole, that if the system proves
not to work we have no redress, and however valuable the objective may be in
principle to have a unitary patent there is too much wrong  with this proposal
as it stands."

In the current version of the treaty, the patent community is busy lobbying
politicians to avoid the ECJ intervention in patent law (art 6 and 8), notably
to avoid that the ECJ would have a say on the question of software patents.

Professor Hanns Ullrich has condamned the current patent plans in its latest
paper: "All the substance of the unitary patent will be derived from public
international law, and, thus [...], will be outside the reach of the EU as
regards any future amendments as well as beyond the reach and oversight of the

He continues: "one hardly dares to inquire into the reasons, which have driven
the Union’s legislator, Commission, Council, and Parliament, to adopt this
monstrous, multi-tentacular patent protection, which they will no more be able
to tame."

Background information

Ministers of the EU are planning under the Danish presidency to sign in June a
non-EU patent treaty, which will be created outside of the European Union.

Top questions like bifurcation, localisation of the courts and software
patents has been kept out of the debate.

Countries like Germany would be free to keep their current court system very
favourable to patentees, but with the power to remove products from the whole
EU market.


* IPKat: Nokia's head of litigation Richard Vary: bifurcation is not just bad
  for the Brits, it's bad for all European industry:
* IPKat: Tea and Sympathy? Baroness Wilcox's appearance before the Scrutiny
  Committee on the unitary patent proposals (Part I)
* CEIPI conference on the Future Patent Court system:
* Paper of Pr Hanns Ullrich: Harmonizing Patent Law: The Untamable Union
  Patent (March 22, 2012):
* Permanent link to this press release:


Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
Mobile: +32 484 566109
Email: bhenrion at ffii.org

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in twenty European countries,
dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit,
based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members,
3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their
voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual
property) in data processing.

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