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Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin Voices Support for Patent Reform Legislation

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today announced that Rhode Island joined 41 other state attorneys general in submitting a letter to the ranking members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees, voicing support for federal legislation that will address patent trolls.

"At least fifteen companies in Rhode Island have reported being targeted by patent trolls, and unfortunately the frequency of this type of extortion by lawsuit is only continuing to increase," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. "Particularly for small companies, the threat of a frivolous lawsuit can be devastating. It is imperative that legislation be implemented to address this growing issue."

Patent trolls acquire patents solely for the purpose of using them to extract license fees and settlements from those targeted as alleged infringers. Consumers, small businesses and non-profit agencies are often targeted by patent trolls because they have purchased or used products with a wide-range of patented technology such as printers or scanners.

The Senate bill, S.1720, and the related H.R. 3309, which recently passed the House, would require greater clarity in patent demand letters and include patent litigation reforms that will help limit the power of patent trolls.

The attorneys general expressed a desire, however, that any legislation confirm their existing state authority to protect their citizens from patent trolls. Recently, Rhode Island and a number of other states have taken action against patent trolls whose activities run afoul of state consumer protection and unfair trade practice laws.

Authored by Nebraska and Vermont, the letter was joined by LIST OF STATES. The letter was sent to Senators Leahy (D-VT), Grassley (R-IA), Rockefeller (D-WV) and Thune (R-SD), and copied to Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-UT) and Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY).

Related links

Department or agency: Department of the Attorney General

Online: http://www.riag.ri.gov/

Release date: 02-24-2014

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