Vermont passes controversial new law targeting patent trolls
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Vermont passes controversial new law targeting patent trolls

Vermont enacted a new law on Wednesday, believed to be the first of its kind in the US, in an effort to crack down on so-called patent trolls

The legislation, known as Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringements, was signed into law by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. It is unclear whether states have the authority to regulate patent activity, due to federal preemption doctrines.

The law allows parties who are threatened by trolls to sue for damages, even if the patent owner has filed no lawsuit against them.

It also enables the state’s Attorney General to pursue civil enforcement against parties believed to be asserting patents in bad faith.

In addition, the patent owner can be required to post a bond of up to $250,000 under the new law, to cover any attorneys’ fees a court may later award to an alleged infringer. The court can deny the bond if the defendant lacks “available assets” equivalent to the amount of the bond.

Rather than define bad faith assertions, the law lists factors to help judges separate legitimate claims from illegitimate ones.

Under the new law, factors that might lead a court to conclude that a claim is illegitimate would include:

  • Not identifying the patents in question, who owns the patent, and to precisely how the patent has been infringed;

  • Demanding an unreasonable amount of money, and/or demanding payment in an unreasonably short amount of time;

  • Making “deceptive” or “meritless” claims.

Factors that might lead a court to conclude that a claim is legitimate include:

  • The claim being made by the original inventor, an educational institution or someone who has commercialised the invention;

  • Having demonstrated “good faith business practices” in previous efforts to enforce the patent, or one that is “substantially similar”

  • Previous success in enforcing the patent through litigation.

The law also grants courts leeway to consider any other factors they believe to be relevant.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

The court criticised Oppo’s attempts to delay proceedings and imposed a penalty, adding that the Chinese company may need to pay more if the trial isn’t concluded this year
Miguel Hernandez explains how he secured victory for baby care company Naterra in his first oral argument before the Federal Circuit
The UPC judges are wrong – restricting access to court documents, and making parties appoint a lawyer only to have a chance of seeing them, is madness
The group, which includes the Volkswagen, Seat and Audi brands, is now licensed to use SEPs owned by more than 60 patent owners
Managing IP’s Max Walters appeared on the latest episode of ‘Two IPs in a pod’, a regular podcast hosted by the UK patent attorney body, to discuss AI, awards and more
Sources at law firms say they have spent more than three years waiting for IP regulations and explain how the delay is affecting their business
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Managing IP will host a ceremony in London on April 11 to reveal the winners of the EMEA Awards 2024
Lawyers reveal what trends they have noticed in the Western District of Texas and the advice they have been giving clients as a result
Concerns over the EU’s proposed SEP Regulation are based on little empirical support, say Benno Buehler and Kilian Mueller of Charles River Associates
Gift this article