Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have joined 17 other companies and associations in drafting a letter to the European Union asking a new court to limit the ability of companies that license technology to win court injunctions against product sales when the validity of the patent being licensed is in dispute.
This is not the first time the companies have asked the EU to take action on this issue in its forthcoming new patent court, which will be the first step in a common patent system. These organizations are asking the EU representatives overseeing the court's implementation to provide guidance for judges on when to issue an injunction or halt proceedings when the validity of a patent is questionable.
"Without this guidance, the potential exists for a court to order an injunction prohibiting the importation and sale of goods even though the patent may ultimately be found invalid," the letter read. Other signatories included Huawei Technologies Co., China's largest smartphone manufacturer, and Google.
Were this guidance to be included for the new EU patent law court, the new body's proceedings would more closely mirror those in the U.S. where patent owners who do not manufacture products can block sales only very rarely. It is virtually impossible for a company to halt sales of devices it claims to own a patent for in the U.S. while that patent is in dispute, according to Bloomberg.