BERLIN—Germany has long been a magnet for global patent litigation, ensnaring companies like Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
Now a coalition of German blue-chip firms and foreign multinationals, including big U.S. tech firms, is pushing legislation that would lessen the country’s appeal for those seeking to assert their intellectual property.
Germany’s main patent courts, in Munich, Mannheim and Düsseldorf, systematically order injunctions, or temporary sales bans, for products subject to patent suits. That makes them attractive legal venues for patent holders.
Key targets of the legislation are so-called nonpracticing entities, or NPEs, which amass portfolios of patents that they license instead of using them in their own products. Critics call them patent trolls.
The proposed rules aim to make it harder for a plaintiff to win an injunction. The initiative has split Germany’s typically unified business community, pitting some of the country’s biggest patent users against its biggest patent holders.