The German law and economics association GRUR invited experts on the topic of patent thickets, patent litigation and the role of standard essential patents (SEPs) in antitrust issues. The main discussion dealt with the question on how to treat standard essential patents in court cases e.g. if courts should grant an injunctions for SEPs. In this regard standard essential patents play a special role since companies that contribute to standard setting and get their patented solutions integrated in a worldwide adopted standard may abuse their monopoly power by being able to block whole technologies. One decision where a German court granted an injunction for an SEP last year has made the case to trigger this discussion. Back then Apple had to stop sales of its iPads and iPhones that use LTE technologies patented by Motorola. IPlytics CEO Tim Pohlmann and colleagues from the TU Berlin and CERNA ParisTech have conducted an EU study on patents that read on technology standards in 2011. A follow on study will be publish next year.
Other topics discussed at the meeting dealt with the increasing litigation cases during the last years. In Europe, Germany has one of the most popular court systems for companies to fight on patent infringement. The experts especially saw problems due to an increase of patenting in general, broad patent claims and an increasing appearance of so called patent trolls that make use of opportunistic strategies to enforce patent rights. IPlytics CEO Tim Pohlmann presented first data analysis of the patent analysis tool Open Patents and Standards Platform (OpenPSP). By increasing transparency on patents for certain markets, IPlytics aims to help companies to strategically make use of patents and technology standards.