Google, Microsoft Urge Changes to Avoid Abuse at EU Patent Court

Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp (MSFT) and at least 12 other companies urged the European Union to change draft rules that will guide the way the bloc’s first patent court operates.

“We appreciate that Europe has long worked towards a unified patent system, and we hope the proposed new system will be a significant step forward,” the companies, including Apple Inc. (AAPL) said in a letter that was sent to EU institutions today. “We are concerned” that aspects of the draft rules “may undermine these benefits by creating significant opportunities for abuse.”

EU ministers in February approved plans to set up the first patent court, paving the way for a common patent system after a decades-long deadlock on the plans. Costs for getting patent protection in Europe could be cut by more than 30,000 euros ($40,443) under a new common patent system, the European Commission, the EU’s executive agency has said.

One of the companies’ concerns is that the rules aren’t clear enough on when or how it will be decided whether a particular patent is valid and that this “could undermine, rather than promote, innovation in Europe.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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