Given the past and ongoing litigation between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung over patent violations and intellectual property in cases all over the world, there can be no small number of people who just read that headline and then reread it making sure they had indeed read it correctly. You did.
There is no small measure of irony, however, in a joint battle over patents between the two companies. Today, the two along with 17 other companies asked the European Union to limit the ability of those that license patents to win court rulings that restrict the sales of their products.
As the 28-nation bloc prepares to have its first unified patent court, the companies are asking it for help in its fight against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) that don’t manufacture goods but rely on licensing fees to make money from their patents: so-called “patent trolls.” A similar group of companies is appealing to the Supreme Court in the U.S. to make it easier to collect legal fees against trolls who lose patent lawsuits.
“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 companies wrote along with China’s Huawei Technology Co Ltd (SHE:002502) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in a letter that was sent to EU authorities today.
If the proposal went into practice it lessen the divide between the U.S. where it’s nearly impossible for patent owners who are not manufacturers to block sales based on simply finding an infringement.
Apple And Samsung: Increasing likelihood of lawsuits
Intellectual property disputes, primarily over patents, made up 18 percent of cross-border litigation between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung and that number is on the rise.
“You never know what one judge will do, but if you’re in five countries, the chances that a judge will go favorably to you increases,” Andreas von Falck, head of the Hogan Lovells law firm’s intellectual property practice. “It’s more a business tool for monetization when it used to be used to fend off a competitor. That has increased the litigation across the world.”