A movement in Europe to create a unified system for litigating patent disputes could open the door for patent assertion entities -- more commonly known as patent trolls -- to exploit the system for profit, some in the tech industry say. More than a dozen companies -- including U.S. tech giants Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Apple and Microsoft -- penned a letter to E.U. officials warning them that such a system could make it easier for patent trolls to shop for friendly courts. "Unprincipled plaintiffs would be able to extract substantial royalties ... from European and other companies based on low-quality and potentially invalid patents," the letter said.

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