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Loser-Pays rule

Red alert.png What this entry documents is not a solution.
This practice may be ineffective or useless in the long term.
ESP's position is that abolition of software patents is the only solution.

The Loser-Pays rule or English rule is a rule of civil procedure controlling assessment of lawyers' fees arising out of litigation. The Loser-Pays principle provides that the party who loses in court is obliged to pay the other party's legal costs. It contrasts with the American rule, under which each party is responsible to pay its own attorneys' fees, unless a statute or contract provides for that assessment. All western democracies follow the Loser-Pays principle except the United States.

In the field of legal disputes concerning patents, this system greatly favors big rich companies because the legal costs of one court case cannot bankrupt them.

This system is advocated by Microsoft.[1]

Related pages on ESP Wiki


Law Antitrust law · Free software exception · Interoperability exception · Loser-Pays rule · Patent review by the public · Raising examination standards · Independent invention defense · Reducing patent duration
Litigation Invalidating harmful patents · Suing makers of unfounded accusations
Licenses Patent clauses in software licenses
Prior art Defensive publication and prior art databases
Company practice Buying harmful patents · Changing company patent policies · Defensive patent acquisition · Insurance against patent litigation · Non-aggression promise to employees · Patent non-aggression pacts · Blanket patent licences and promises