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Parliamentary question - P-006063/2017Parliamentary question

Rising activity of patent assertion entities in Europe

Question for written answer P-006063-17
to the Commission
Rule 130
Max Andersson (Verts/ALE)

Recent reports indicate that European innovators are increasingly threatened with abusive patent lawsuits initiated by patent assertion entities (PAEs) that do not make any products or services but buy up large patent portfolios expressly to demand unfair payments from successful companies.

These entities are adept at exploiting the loopholes and rigidities of Europe’s patent legal system on automatic permanent injunctions, inadequate fee-shifting and poor-quality patents to gain unfair leverage to the detriment of innovative companies operating in Europe.

Data and findings from the 2016 Joint Research Centre (JRC) study on PAEs in Europe are incomplete, outdated and fail to capture the real extent of the problems that PAEs pose. This is partly due to the fact that patent decisions made by national courts are not easily accessible.

1. Does the Commission plan to carry out a comprehensive quantitative study to investigate the full extent of the problems posed by PAEs in Europe and better appreciate the risks they pose to European business and innovation?

2. What concrete steps will the Commission take to prevent further abuses by PAEs of the EU patent legal system and improve the transparency of patent litigation?