Vermont Fires First Shot in Battle over Patent Trolls

A patent troll generally is a business whose only asset are a portfolio of patents and who make money principally by suing or threatening lawsuits against alleged infringers.  Advertising and marketing companies have been hit with patent claims over the use of QR codes in coupons, promotions distributed in text messages, podcasts and pull-down menus on websites, while the National Retail Federation estimates that 200 retailers have been hit by trolls paying out millions.

Earlier this month, the White House announced its initiative against Patent Trolls, citing the fact that

the number of lawsuits brought by patent trolls has nearly tripled, and account for 62% of all patent lawsuits in America. All told, the victims of patent trolls paid $29 billion in 2011, a 400% increase from 2005 — not to mention tens of billions dollars more in lost shareholder value.

President Obama has taken several administrative steps to put patents to greater scrutiny,  the Federal Trade Commission is conducting a study on the issue., while multiple anti- troll proposals are gaining momentum on Capital Hill.

The first shot in the battle over trolls was fired in Vermont, as the Green Mountain state ,which actually has the highest per capita number of inventors, passed a law enabling courts to require a bad-faith patent plaintiff to post a bond to cover the cost and to permit a right of action for bad faith demand letters asserting patent infringement with punitive damages of up to $50,000.  The day the law went into effect, the state’s attorney general filed the first lawsuit against under the new law against MPHJ Technology Investments, a notorious patent troll that had sent hundreds of demand letters to small businesses seeking $1,000 per employee for their claimed patent on the process for scanning documents into an email.

More information (see below)

More information (see below)

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  1. Pingback: Spotlight Falls on Patent Trolls and Junk Patents | Cyber Report

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