A new addition to the service industry around patent litigation in Europe has just launched: a company that delivers frontman or “strawman” administrative services to assist law firms and patent attorney firms to offer their clients the possibility to start anonymous invalidation or nullity actions before a European court or an opposition before the EPO?
So for who is this service?
According to VerifyIP, the company offers a service by becoming the named party in a nullity action against one or more patents before a European IP Court or opposition against a European Patent before the European Patent Office. They claim that their customers (counsel, IP litigators, patent attorneys) can focus on legal and technical arguments, and they provide administrative support.
Why litigate anonymously?
So why file a patent nullity action in any European patent court or opposition against a granted patent before the EPO, using a frontman company, or “strawman”?
Frequent Asked Questions
The company’s Frequent Asked Questions provides a few circumstances in which the use of a frontman or strawman can be desirable (in a drop-down menu on the homepage):
- Firstly to prevent a company fall victim to a counterclaim for patent infringement.
- Furthermore, international patent litigation may benefit if a nullity action is filed in another jurisdiction than where the infringement action takes place. Additional strategic advantages can be achieved if this action is done by a frontman (anonymously).
- Opposing a patent before the EPO anonymously may prevent alerting market competitors to know that you are interested in their technology.
- When in licensing negotiations (or intentions to do so) filing a nullity or opposing anonymously may allow you to influence the outcome of those negotiations.
- Sometimes it is desirable to file arguments in a court proceeding anonymously or via a frontman company that, for whatever reason, would not be beneficial to your legal position in another case.
Other questions are dealt with in the FAQ section of the company. Questions like:
- Is VerifyIP affiliated with any Law Firm or European Patent Firm?
- What does VerifyIP do?
- Is the continuity of the frontman company guaranteed?
- Are there any confidentiality arrangements in place?
- What do Frontman Services cost?
- Is the relationship between VerifyIP and the client subject to a legal document?
- Is there case law before the European Patent Office that allows an anonymous party or frontman (or “strawman”) to file an opposition against a granted patent?
- Is a single frontman company used for more nullity actions or for more clients?
- Does VerifyIP prepare any of the legal documentation for a nullity or opposition?
- Can VerifyIP act on behalf of a client in a revocation action against a patent before the UPC (Unified Patent Court)
- Who are the clients of VerifyIP?
The company, VerifyIP, claims to have everything in place to arrange for anonymous patent litigation in Europe. A Standard Services Agreement provides for the legal foundation of litigating anonymously and secured continuity. The company arranges a suitable and well-organized company structure and provides administrative support.
Who is this service for?
Their clients are said to be European IP law firms that represent parties that seek revocation (or nullity or invalidity) or potentially threatening patents that they believe lack novelty or are not inventive.”
For more information, go to the website of VerifyIP. The company can be contacted via the contact form on their website.