Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) along with defense, aerospace, and security giant BAE Systems PLC (PINK:BAESY) (LON:BA), have joined telecommunications equipment company Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) (STO:ERIC-A) (STO:ERIC-B), in requesting the members of the European Parliament not to vote for the proposed ‘unitary patent regulation’, says a report from thenextweb.com.
In April 2011, the European Commission proposed a “regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection” that is due today for a vote by the European Parliament and the Council of European Union. The regulation is the last hope, to set up a common patent platform for all Member States of the European Union (EU). Such attempts have been failing for the last 40 years or so, according to Unitary-Patent.eu. The single patent for all members, though praiseworthy, according to Unitary-Patent.eu ““this regulation, up to its very title, is actually very deceiving”. Even Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) and BAE Systems, who are clearly in favor of unitary patent protection across the EU, agree on this point from Unitary-Patent.eu.
The request letter by Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V), BAE Systems PLC (PINK:BAESY) (LON:BA), and Ericsson, says “Unfortunately the current package of proposals for EU Patent Reform does not achieve this important objective. On the contrary, the proposed Regulation now before the European Parliament is seriously flawed….. We are concerned that, if passed, it will harm innovation, competition and enterprise in Europe for years and decades to come. It will put Europe at a serious disadvantage compared with other nations and trading blocs, both established and developing, around the world. In short, it creates a non-level playing field for European companies doing business in Europe……In particular, newly introduced Art 5a creates greater legal uncertainty and more opportunity for forum shopping. It facilitates abusive behavior by patent holders…..Examples of such abusive behavior include enforcement by patent holders of invalid or weak patents, using threats of pan-European injunctions to extract money from legitimate European businesses that make and sell products in Europe….This would be to the detriment of European-based business, both large and small…. Business activities in Europe will become more vulnerable. The Regulation, as it stands, will drive European businesses to locate their infrastructure, such as factories and warehouses, outside the jurisdiction and discourage inward investment from companies domiciled outside the EU.This will harm employment and economies of participating Member States. Those businesses that remain within the EU will face considerable disadvantages relative to their overseas competitors….In short, the proposal, as it stands, is bad for European business and we urge you not to vote in favor on 11 December”.
If the proposed regulation is passed, companies fear more intensive patent troll activity. As per the data from the European Patent Office (EPO), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) (STO:ERIC-A) (STO:ERIC-B) was among the top 10 patentees in 2011, while Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) was among the top 50.