Digital innovation downturn as patent trolls invade Europe

Press release
Brussels, 4 April 2017

The EU is facing a new explosion of patent infringement lawsuits from so-called patent trolls that are abusing Europe’s legal system(s) for financial gain. The large majority of such cases are filed in Germany and France. In Germany they now make up a staggering 20 percent of all patent lawsuits.

  • On 21 February, Marathon filed against Honeywell and Somfy in Germany.
  • On 13 February, Marathon filed against Telecom, Vodafone, Telefonica, Google, ZTE and Xiaomi Technology in Germany.
  • On 15 November, Intellectual Ventures filed against SFR in France.

IP2Innovate asked the European Commission to take concrete steps to prevent further abuses by patent trolls of the EU legal system.  The abusive practices of patent trolls, also known as patent assertion entities, cause great uncertainty for business, add unnecessary costs, scare investors, stifle innovation, slow development and the introduction of new products, and even force businesses to shut down.

But European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip disagrees that new action is needed. IP2Innovate is now urging the European Commission to investigate the scale of the problem to better appreciate the risks to business and innovation and take steps to protect European innovators. 80 per cent of lawsuits filed outside the US by patent assertion entities happen in Europe. The majority have been filed in Germany in the past two years.

IP2Innovate is a new and rapidly growing coalition of small and large companies that create innovative products and services in Europe and collectively hold thousands of European patents. IP2Innovate members have directly experienced patent assertion entities that are adept at exploiting the rigidities of Europe’s patent systems on automatic permanent injunctions, inadequate fee-shifting and poor quality patents.

Patrick Oliver, Executive Director of IP2Innovate said, “The risk will only increase with the implementation of the Unified Patent Court which will make Europe an even more attractive venue for patent abuses. The European Commission must get tough with US patent trolls.”

Contact Amaury Libbrecht, Policy Manager of IP2Innovate on

and/or  +32 492 22 08 20